When most people think of analytical mathematics, they immediately go into a self-induced coma. Basketball players, in particular, don’t usually share their mathematical knowledge on live TV, but Shaquille O’Neal used his platform on Thursday night’s episode of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” to give his take on saving money on gas. For anyone that tuned in on Thursday, they were probably surprised by the conversation.
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As the crew was gearing up to talk about the upcoming NBA playoff game, co-host Kenny Smith explained that he didn’t want to buy a new car because he would be spending $80 a week on gas.
O’Neal, who received his doctorate degree in education from Florida’s Barry University, decided to drop some much-needed knowledge on his co-host, which had the other analysts wondering what they had just witnessed.
“When it gets to half, you put $20,” he explained to his colleagues. “Then, when it gets back to half, you put $20.” His colleagues tried to argue with his explanation, but O’Neal did not back down. “If you let it get to zero Monday through Friday, then you have to pay $80 to fill it back up. But if you let it get to half by Wednesday, then you pay $20 and it goes back to full.”
This was apparently O’Neal’s take on Zeno’s dichotomy paradox, a paradox that states that many things rather than only one leads to absurd conclusions, according to Stanford’s online encyclopedia.
O’Neal’s colleagues tried to understand what the multi-degree O’Neal was saying, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.
The crew at “Inside the NBA” argued that they would still be paying $40 for half a tank because 40 is half of 80, but O’Neal tries to make them understand that if they only pay $20 every time the gas gets to the halfway mark, they’ll never actually have to pay out the full $80 at any one time.
While ultimately, it may still cost $80 to drive the vehicle for the week, there’s no need to pay $80 all at once in O’Neal’s equation. Who would have thought you could learn mathematics on an NBA show?