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Shaquille O’Neal coins new word, ‘dismantilization,’ on Inside the NBA

Sometimes when the words are insufficient, we must create our own.

Sometimes when the words are insufficient, we must create our own.
Photo: Getty Images

Over the years, Shaquille O’Neal and the TNT crew on Inside the NBA have given us plenty of hilarious moments. Just about every episode at this point produces a segment that gets picked up and goes viral on social media. Many of those moments have come out of the mouth of Dr. O’Neal, and the latest gem can also be attributed to the Big Shaqtus. During the postgame following the Lakers’ play-in victory over the Timberwolves, Shaq pointed to the “dismantilization” of Minnesota as the reason Los Angeles was able to come back and win in overtime.

In case it’s not obvious, no, “dismantilization” is not a word you will find in Webster’s Dictionary or any other credible source. Where you will find it is in the imaginative lexicon of Shaq. This was another moment when Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith stopped and called O’Neal out. Even Barkley knew this couldn’t be a real word as Shaq continued to double down on his new discovery. “First of all, it’s a word because I said it. How bout that?” Shaq explained.

One thing you can always count on whenever TNT has games, you will be entertained. Whether from the game, the live TNT studio show, or both. One way or another, you’ll see and probably hear something interesting watching these guys. Most times, it might not make sense, but they’ll get you to emote one way or another. 

Meanwhile, Webster’s is open about its philosophy as “descriptivist” lexicographers — meaning, in their view, words are legit when they’re spoken and understood in everyday practice, not when some stuffy academic decides they are. So will we soon see “dismantilization” in the dictionary? Probably not, but who knows? Maybe it will catch on.

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