Posted June 14, 2012

Shaq receives Father of the Year Award

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Shaquille O’Neal was one of the five honorees at the 71st annual Father of the Year Awards banquet in New York City on June 14. (Rob Kim/Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal took a break from his TNT studio work to travel to New York on Thursday to receive a Father of the Year award, and Shaq being Shaq, he wasn’t shy about discussing a couple of news items in the process.

The four-time NBA champion made headlines recently when he indicated interest in the open Orlando Magic GM position. He eventually withdrew from consideration before interviewing and said Thursday that “I wouldn’t be comfortable taking the GM job if I couldn’t do it my way.” Besides, he says he’s “having fun with TNT. It’s probably one the best, comfiest, easiest jobs in the country.”

O’Neal also commented on the NBA Finals, saying that while he doesn’t have a favored team, he thought the Thunder were impressive in their Game 1 victory. “They kept their composure; they didn’t panic when Miami came out [hot in the first half]. And [Kevin] Durant played a smooth game as usual.”

O’Neal was in good spirits at the ceremony run by The National Father’s Day Council, joking that “I’ve won a lot of awards. You know, I got an Oscar for Kazaam. But this award is among the most prestigious.” The father of six concluded his acceptance speech with a quick anecdote about coaching a basketball team for one of  his sons: “We made it all the way to the championship game. We were down by eight with two minutes left. So I gave the only speech I could think to give. I said, ‘If we win this, I’ll take you to Hooters.’ And we won by six, so I guess it worked!” –Erin Weaver