Pascal Siakam is in the midst of his fifth season in the NBA. During his relatively short tenure in the league, Siakam has won a championship alongside Kawhi Leonard on the Toronto Raptors, made an All-Star team, and got a deserved second-team All-NBA nod at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 campaign.
All of this is to say that even though he’s in the midst of a slightly down year — which, “slightly down” means 20.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game — Siakam is one of the best basketball players on earth. This is what makes the following clip from Thursday night’s edition of Inside the NBA, in which Shaquille O’Neal did not know Siakam’s first name and admitted as much on screen, so baffling.
EJ: “You got your eyes on Pascal?”
Shaq: “Nah, I got my eyes on Siakam.” pic.twitter.com/1ZXTSGPWMg
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 19, 2021
“I don’t call him Pascal,” Shaq explained earnestly even though the door was open to make a joke that would have helped him out in this situation. “I call him Siakam.”
Now, listen, most people who watch Inside understand that it is an entertainment show first and a basketball show second, which is fine! It is, objectively, more fun watching Shaq and Charles Barkley riff than most any other thing that happens on sports television, there is a formula that has worked incredibly well for them and it is why Inside is the most successful sports studio show ever behind SportsCenter. Still, there is a sentiment that they have leaned too far into this to the point that it can make them look bad when they get a bit overzealous, and those who believe this got a feather in their cap today.