NBA veterans Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill are openly discussing the possibility of buying the Orlando Magic after they retire. The Phoenix Suns teammates and close friends, who are both long in the tooth, are former Magic players (though not at the same time) who live in the Orlando area.
According to the SACRAMENTO BEE:
They have already talked about it together, a lot. They have already made their feelings known to CEO and president Bob Vander Weide, the son-in-law of owner Rich DeVos. They have, both report independently, already lined up additional investors.
Of course, none of this means anything until the Big Goober weighs in:
“I’ve mentioned it to Bob Vander Weide and he laughs. But I know they love Grant as president. I know they like that idea. I always try to ride Grant’s coat tails. Hey, Grant’s the president. He’s better looking, better spoken and can do the president. But I can be the general manager. I can get stuff done.”
O’Neal’s position as the dominant post-Jordan-era figure and Hill’s squeaky clean reputation combine to make an MJ-like figurehead. However, unlike Michael Jordan, President of the Charlotte Bobcats, these two would reside in the city of the team they run, and seem to already have considerable interest in the idea even while still playing in the league. Of course, it would be easy to see Shaq completely losing interest and falling asleep at the wheel like His Airness has done with the ‘Cats and the Wiz before them.
Hill has his say:
“It’s certainly something we’ve talked a lot about since Shaq’s come on board here. I think Orlando makes sense because we live there and we both played there. Ownership is something that we’re both interested in. We know people and we have groups and various people who are interested as well. We’ve talked about doing it ourselves. There’s no clear, concrete plan. But it’s certainly something that when we’re done playing we’ll definitely look into.
Especially considering Hill’s statement, this sounds like more than Shaq’s usual pie-in-the-sky banter and rambling. Would this be good for the league? Former players as GMs don’t have a stellar reputation, but what about as owners?