Shaquille O'Neal is in training for his next career.
The 7-foot-1 center for the Phoenix Suns is taking a course at Syracuse University known as Sportscaster U, a crash course designed to teach athletes about the broadcasting industry. He arrived on Sunday and started school Monday at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
"I've been an athlete that's sort of in advance; always thinking," O'Neal said Monday during a break in his studio work. "After basketball I'd love to have my own radio show, my own TV show."
Sportscaster U is essentially a broadcasting boot camp started last year by Syracuse radio play-by-play announcer Matt Park and fellow Syracuse alum Dave Ryan, an ESPN announcer. Park and Ryan are adjunct professors at Newhouse.
The inaugural Sportscaster U was held last summer in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association.Four players, including Eric Snow and Adrian Griffin, signed up for the hands-on course.
They will host another session for more NBA players later this summer, but this week's session was designed specifically for Shaq.
"His energy level is unbelievable," Park said. "He wants to do it all and he's been terrific."
O'Neal spent his time taping mock stand-ups, scripting material, and conducting interviews.
He even scored the first on-camera interview with former Duke point guard Greg Paulus, who last week announced his decision to play football for the Oranges this fall.
"He's got great personality. His presence is phenomenal. He's so funny and charismatic. He's got the whole package," Paulus told The Post-Standard of Syracuse.
O'Neal also interviewed Tim Green, the former Syracuse and NFL player turned TV analyst and author. O'Neal asked Green about his latest book and then bantered with the former Atlanta Falcons player.
"I've been the type of person (and) the type of athlete, I don't like to be given anything," O'Neal said. "I like to earn."