Yesterday we had some breaking news during the day that Shaquille O’Neal has finally decided to retire after 19 seasons in the NBA. But he decided to do it via his twitter feed(@Shaq) and it made headlines all over ESPN because he did it in this fashion. While he hasn’t officially turned in his paperwork, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that he is done. He had been struggling with a heel injury this past season and despite his best efforts, he couldn’t ever get well enough to play consistently during the Celtics playoff run.
Coming into the league out of LSU, Shaq already had some people saying he could be one of the greatest centers of all time. And from the beginning he showed that he would be a force to be reckoned with. Throughout his career he proved to be one of the toughest guys to cover in the paint. But off the court, he was very personable and would do anything for some publicity. He had a couple rap albums and a movie that became fodder for opponents to attack him with, but it endeared him to fans.
While he was meant to put Orlando on the NBA map and turn them into a champion, Shaq didn’t taste that first championship until he paired up with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for Shaq, Kobe couldn’t share the spotlight with the lovable big man, so he was sent packing and landed in Miami. Where he went on to win another championship with Dwayne Wade.
Shaq was a fun player to watch during the post Michael Jordan era and he showed that he was very deserving of his hype so long ago. Shaq will be able to sit back and enjoy retirement, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he winds up on one of the studio show as an analyst. I am hoping he will end up next to Charles Barkley, that could be a fun set to watch.