It's unclear if Shaquille O'Neal's on-air persona with TNT is completely separate from the metaphorical mask he puts on to perform as DJ Diesel. Given the latter's set-ending song choice on Friday at Outside Lands music festival in San Francisco, though, it's safe to say all versions of O'Neal holds the Golden State Warriors' 2023-24 championship hopes in high esteem.
DJ Diesel closed out his concert in Golden Gate Park by blaring Queen's “We Are The Champions” over the loudspeakers, telling a crowd dominated by Dubs fans that's the song they'll “hear at the end of this year.”
— r/Warriors 🏆 (@GSWReddit) August 12, 2023
The audience's tame reaction to DJ Diesel's claim is telling. Perhaps he was simply trying to leave his set on an outwardly positive, cheerful note rather than make an official prediction that Golden State will be the last team standing next June. O'Neal is bound to address it on Inside The NBA at some point this season, right?
Either way, DJ Diesel's proclamation speaks to the general sense of optimism surrounding the Warriors following an offseason overhaul that's put an ugly 2022-23 season firmly in the rearview mirror. Rookie general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. set out to revamp his team's roster with trusted veterans who are committed to the common goal and fit Steve Kerr's system, trading Jordan Poole for Chris Paul and also signing Dario Saric and Cory Joseph in free agency.
In wake of a disappointing and ultimately doomed title defense, Golden State seems poised to enter 2023-24 re-invigorated, with the type of collective attitude necessary to win the title. We'll start to find out October 24th, when the Warriors host the Phoenix Suns on opening night, just how prescient DJ Diesel's prediction appears.