National Basketball Association
NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal to back 'Team Diesel' in The Basketball Tournament
National Basketball Association

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal to back 'Team Diesel' in The Basketball Tournament

Updated May. 20, 2024 2:04 p.m. ET

Shaq is coming to The Basketball Tournament.

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal announced Monday that he is backing a team in the 2024 edition of TBT, and he will rename the squad "Team Diesel" after the nickname he frequently uses. Shaq was known as the "Big Diesel" during his Hall of Fame NBA career and currently uses the name "DJ Diesel" for his side gig as a DJ at festivals and public events.

O'Neal is taking control of a team formerly known as the "Gutter Cats," which has made deep runs out of the Louisville regional in each of the last two tournaments. The team is now setting its sights even higher, with eyes on taking home the $1 million prize that goes to the winning squad.


"We're gonna get as much resources as we can and try to get the best players," O'Neal said. "It'll be a great moment for us, for TBT and those guys to have a chance to win that $1 million. Hopefully we can make some noise."

2024 will mark the first year in which TBT is broadcast exclusively on the FOX family of networks, with games being shown on FOX, FS1 and FS2. The 64-team, March Madness-style tournament is known for featuring past notable college basketball stars — such as Jimmer Fridette — on alumni teams, as well as popularizing the hit "Elam Ending." 

[The Basketball Tournament: What to know about $1 million winner-take-all event]

Notable players in this year's tournament include former NBA players Eric Bledsoe and Willie Cauley-Stein of La Familia, the Kentucky alumni team, and Montrezl Harrell of The Ville, the Louisville alumni team.

The TBT will also feature a team of ex-UConn players called Stars of Storrs, which will include former national champs Joey Calcaterra, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels.

TBT runs from the start of regional play on July 19 through the championship game on August 4.

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