Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Shaquille O’Neal Believes 2x All-Star Could Be Next Face of NBA

May 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Shaquille O'Neal looks on before game four between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent interview with James Boyd of The Athletic, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal said he believes Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton could become the next face of the NBA.

With future Hall of Famers LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry likely retiring from basketball within the next five years, there has been a conversation about who will replace their spot as the faces of the league. Haliburton is only 24 years old and has improved each year since joining the NBA in 2020. And although he has only been with the Pacers since February 2022, Haliburton’s impact in Indiana has not gone unnoticed. After his second consecutive NBA All-Star selection, first as a starter, Haliburton talked about getting “passed the torch” from Larry Bird and Reggie Miller as the face of Indiana basketball:

Any time you get love from legends and the ones who came before you, it means the world. For me, in Indy, those are two of the biggest figures in the sport, and I got their stamp of approval. Those are people who I have relationships with, and I can get on the phone with them whenever I need to. I’m thankful I have those people in my life. Any time that legends show you love, you’ve got to listen and you’ve got to reflect on it. People probably don’t even know where I’m from. They’ve never even heard about Oshkosh, Wisconsin. So that is a cool thing about it.

In July 2023, Haliburton signed a supermax contract that will keep him under contract through the 2028-29 season.

This season, Haliburton is averaging 21.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and a league-leading 11.7 assists per game.

Shaquille O’Neal Believes 2x All-Star Could Be Next Face of NBA

NBA Players Praise Haliburton

O’Neal is far from the only former NBA player who has high expectations for Haliburton. Before the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, Miller said he thinks Haliburton can bring a championship to Indiana. Furthermore, Miller’s former teammate in Indiana, Metta Sandiford-Artest, has recently said he thinks Haliburton will “probably” win an MVP award someday:

“He’ll probably take an MVP,” he said of Haliburton. “I’m looking forward to the Pacers doing everything that I wanted to do when I was here.”

Additionally, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sang his praises for the guard, via The Athletic:

“Do I believe Tyrese will be able to make an incredible mark in Indiana? He’s already making it. The future is bright for him. The future is bright for the city.”

Is Shaquille O’Neal Right About Tyrese Haliburton?

It is too difficult to predict the NBA landscape in four or five years. That said, Haliburton is on the right track and is only going to continue getting better. It is tough to put Haliburton over guys like Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, and Victor Wembanyama just to name a few. That said, Haliburton’s success so far in his career cannot go unnoticed. Every year has been a jump for the Iowa State alum. Right now, it seems like it is just a matter of time before his name appears in MVP talks.


More Posts

Send Us A Message