- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Newark's own Shaquille O'Neal is pushing for an NBA franchise in his native city -- and has engaged in talks with the league about the possibility.
"Hopefully we can bring a team back to my hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and we have some talks going on now," O'Neal said Thursday on SportsCenter, adding that he'd "love to own an NBA team."
The Nets are supposed to be play in Newark's Prudential Center this season, but the ongoing lockout has prevented that from occurring. The franchise is slated to leave New Jersey and move to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season.
O'Neal, who was born in Newark in 1972, had already expressed a desire to move a franchise there.
In an October interview with the New York Times, O'Neal sounded upset that the Nets were leaving the Garden State.
"The Nets? I don't know who the Nets are," he said.
"I'm looking forward to bringing a team to Newark," he added. "I haven't spoken to Mayor [Cory] Booker about it yet, but I'm working on it. I know Newark can support an NBA team. And I'm going to be one of the guys that's going to bring a team there."
O'Neal, who announced his retirement at the end of last season, is currently promoting his new biography, "Shaq Uncut: My Story" with ESPN Boston.com's Jackie MacMullan.