Shaquille O’Neal, also known as The Diesel, Big Daddy, Superman, Shaq Fu, The Big Aristotle, The Big Shaqtus, The Big Shamrock, Dr. Shaq, etc, announced is retirement from the NBA earlier today on Twitter.
Shaq posted a video on his twitter page that said the following directed toward his fans:
“We did it. 19 years baby, I want to thank you very much, that’s why I’m telling you first. I’m about to retire. Love ya. Talk to you soon.”
It was an unorthodox way to retire, but it was fitting for a guy like Shaq who we’ve always expected the unexpected from.
Shaq took us all on a ride through his 19 years in the NBA. He was more than a basketball player. Shaq was an actor, rapper, Miami Beach Reserve Officer, reality TV star, businessman, and aspiring MMA fighter.
He had more nicknames than the number of people that liked “Kazaam”, he was always outspoken, and at times his mouth got him into trouble. He was fined a number of times by the NBA for criticizing officials, and I’m sure the FCC shuddered each time Shaq was interviewed on live TV.
But, Shaq dominated basketball like few others throughout the 90s and he peaked with the Lakers in the early 2000s. The highlight of the Diesel’s career was in Los Angeles when he and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA Championships from 2000-2002.
Shaq was the Finals MVP during all three of the Lakers championship seasons. There’s no telling what Kobe and Shaq could have accomplished with the Lakers had they been able to coexist.
Instead, Shaq was traded to the Heat where he teamed up with Dwyane Wade to lead the Miami Heat to the 2006 NBA Championship, and give the Big Aristotle his 4th ring. He searched in vein for a 5th ring to equal Kobe over the final years of his career with the Suns, Cavaliers, and Celtics.
In any case, Shaq will go down as one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. He was a 4x NBA Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 15x All Star, 1x Regular Season MVP, 8x All NBA 1st teamer, and a 3x All Star game MVP.
One of the biggest crimes in NBA history is that Shaq, one of the most dominant players ever, will walk away from the game with one MVP trophy to his name.
Shaq finished his career averaging 23.7 PPG and 10.9 RPG. He had the most points on the active scoring list, and his 28,596 points is fifth most in NBA history.
He has the 7th most blocks, 12th most rebounds, the 3rd most free throw attempts, and the 2nd highest field goal percentage in NBA history.
Shaq’s name will have to be mentioned whenever the greatest centers of all time is discussed. I don’t think anyone will be brave enough to place him ahead of Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, or maybe even Hakeem Olajuwon, but Shaq is most definitely in the conversation.
My first real memory of watching the NBA was watching Shaq and Kobe dominate the league in the early 2000s. I loved Shaq then, despised him once he was traded from LA, and then loved him once again as his career started winding down.
It’s truly a sad day in the NBA to witness the end of “Shaq Fu.” He will be missed by every NBA fan, and the league truly won’t be the same without him in it.
While this is the end of Shaq as a basketball player, something tells me we haven’t heard the last from the Big Aristotle.
Enjoy your retirement Diesel, you’ve earned it.