The Big Aristotle announced that he is planning to retire in a video he posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon. Twitter, as we all know, is a better form of direct communication that actually informing the team that he plays for that he planned to retire. He has always been the most quotatious and possessed the most social media savvy. Shaquille O’Neal played 19 professional seasons after being a standout at LSU. He has career averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.
O’Neal asserted his dominance in the league early on in his time with the Orlando Magic taking the expansion franchise as far as the NBA Finals in 1995. It was not in Orlando where he would find his ultimate level of success.
O’Neal left the Magic in 1996 to join the Los Angeles Lakers where he would form, along with Kobe Bryant and head coach Phil Jackson, the first NBA dynasty of the 21st century winning three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002. During this time, O’Neal enjoyed the most fruitful statistical production of his career.
However, not all was well in Lala Land and the O’Neal left the Lakers. He would win just one more title throughout the remainder of his career and shortly after that would see dramatic dips in his performance, playing time, and relevancy as he bounced from one team to another. That is not what he will be remembered for though.
O’Neal will be remembered for his dominant play during much of his career. He will be remembered for the new backboards that the league had to begin using because he kept toppling them with his strength. He will be remembered for his numerous “Shaq-isms” and for his 15 All Star appearances.And he will be remembered for being a Miami Beach police officer and for dancing with the Jabbawockeez. And let us not forget, he will be remembered for his numerous movies (Blue Chips was awesome) and rap albums.
The accolades that O’Neal has received are numerous. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in the 1992-93 season, he has three All Star Game MVP’s, three NBA Finals MVP’s, and the NBA MVP. To go along with the hardware, O’Neal was also selected to the All NBA First Team eight times during his career. Internationally, he was a member of the bad-boy Dream Team 2 which took home the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
He scored 28,596 points over his career which places him fifth overall in NBA history. His 13,099 rebounds are good for 12th all time. He is a shoo in for a first ballot Hall of Fame induction.
Now that he has retired the only question is “what’s next” for O’Neal. One can only hope that he will join TNT so that he and Charles Barkley can establish what would be one of the best duos that television has ever seen.