Shaq Attack Retires!
My friend Francis Villanueva may be a good person in real-life but he is a dick when it comes to the affairs of the Boston Celtics.
Anyway, I was trying to eat breakfast when he broke the news.
SHAQ ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT.
This reminds me of that squirrel image I saw.
Weeks after my Boston Celtics was eliminated by his Miami Heat, many-time MVP Shaquille O’Neal has accepted the fact that he is no condition to continue playing in the NBA. I will take a crack at my favourite team (next to the early and mid-90’s Bulls and ahead of the late 90’s and early 2000’s Kings) but he is the fourth player to retire in four years for the squad after Sam Cassell, PJ Brown, and Rasheed Wallace.
I got the opportunity to watch relic footages when he was still at LSU. In the 1993 NBA Draft, he was selected first by the Orlando in what was a deep draft that had Georgetown’s Alonzo Mourning coming in at second (Charlotte) and Duke’s Christian Laetner coming in at third (Minnesota). Mourning is a sure Hall of Famer while Laetner is already a Hall of Famer (as part of the 1992 Dream Team) and could be inducted as an individual if we consider that he was once named as the Greatest NCAA Player in history.
These players would play in one team at the tailend of their careers when Shaquille O’Neal was traded to Miami for notably Lamar Odom and Caron Butler.
At Orlando, he was a 7’1 monster that has power and speed. He can go coast-to-coast and rim rattle because he could do so. It was academic for him to win the Rookie of the Year Award after scoring 28.2 points. Years later, he will become a multi-media phenomenon with his face promoting Reebok and Pepsi, his acting (or lack thereof) on hand in Shazam, Steel, and the epic art film Blue Chips (haha), his singing voice previewed through his raps, and promoting the game to millions of people thru basketball tours.
I remember he brought a team to Manila to battle the PBA All-Stars and when sports turned into entertainment, he carried then-Ginebra Bal David who stands roughly 5’9 and made him slam the ball.
Shaq however, wanted more. After losing to the Houston Rockets in the 1995 NBA Finals despite having a great starting five in Orlando revolving around him (Shaq at center, Horace Grant at power forward, Nick Anderson at small forward, Dennis Scott at shooting guard, and fellow Blue Chips co-star Penny Hardaway at the point guard spot), Shaq went to the Los Angeles Lakers. Under Del Harris and with stalwarts like Eddie Jones, Nick Van Exel, Cedric Ceballos, and a young Kobe Bryant, he was still ring-less.
And then Kobe got better and Phil Jackson was in the Lakers.
In the late 90’s and the early 2000’s, Shaquille O’Neal had the chance to tow the Lakers to the top in multiple occasions. At this point, he has ballooned to 300 pounds and it robbed him of his speed and agility but it also doubled his strength on the inside. His orgasmic flushes were responsible for a lot of embarrassing photo ops on other talented players.
After the Finals debacle that robbed Karl Malone and back then Gary Payton a championship when they were surprisingly beaten by the Detroit Pistons, Shaq expressed his intentions to move elsewhere. The move was triggered when the Lakers management chose Kobe over Shaq in the battle of their disgruntled stars. Kobe has wanted to lead the group but with Shaq around, he couldn’t. Besides, back then Shaq’s age was telling and Kobe’s level is about to peak. Shaq was sent to the Miami Heat in 2004 where he found himself aligning with a young kid with incredible basketball IQ named Dwyane Wade.
Unlike the Shaq-Kobe lovefest the two respected each other’s strengths and decisions. Shaq was in fact responsible for Wade’s The Flash tag. Coming in as underdogs to a trail-blazing Dallas squad, Miami turned the tables on the Mavs and flipped the series from 0-2 to 4-2 in their favor. Shaq was again the man of the moment in Miami but he brushed the thought and told the media that it was Dwyane Wade who led the team to victory.
Shaq never gave accolades to Penny Hardaway and much less to Kobe Bryant so let’s just say it’s a big deal.
Shaq again was disgruntled in Miami when the team failed to properly defend their championship which poised O’Neal to look for another place to win a title. However at this point he was overpaid and always injured. He was sent to Phoenix which was considered a deal that was bad for the Suns. He then signed with Cleveland in a way to pit the star of the 90’s with the star of the current generation. This partnership ended when the Cavs failed to reach the finals and Lebron James bailed to Miami.
In his last season with the Boston Celtics, he finished his 19-year career with an average of 9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks which are all career-lows.
There is a possibility that Shaq will set another bunch of career-lows the minute he continue his fading career.
Don’t be sad for Shaq. In fact, be envious.
Here are his accomplishments:
1x NBA MVP
3x NBA FINALS MVP
4x NBA CHAMPION
8x ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM
2x ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM
4x ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM
3x ALL-STAR MVP
1993 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
3x ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM
2x NBA SCORING CHAMPION
Here are his monikers:
THE BIG AGAVE
THE BIG CACTUS
THE BIG SHAMROCK
THE REAL DEAL
THE BIG GALACTUS
Perhaps the biggest flaw of his game is his free throws. There is a running gag that in order for Shaquille O’Neal to fear you, you must dress like a free throw line. Shaq is a career 53 percent free throw shooter. His field goal percentage is higher than his charity gross.
But fact is, I blame Shaq’s decline on his age, the injuries he developed throughout the years, and his constant team switching. It was depressing for him to still be team-less midway in the 2010 midseason. If only he stuck with Miami instead of having stops in cities that never cared for him... or just went to Boston instead of moving to Cleveland, the tailend of his career could have been more different.
Nonetheless, Shaq played a stellar career. I will probably rank him fourth in NBA history when it comes to centers and tenth overall in the all-time list.
I wish Shaq the best in his future endeavours.