Shaquille O'Neal, the man with four rings, 28,596 career points and scores of nicknames, has finally decided to call it quits, ending one of the most colorful careers in NBA history that will surely culminate with a Hall of Fame induction.Mark my words, on this date, June 1st 2011: Shaquille will be on some team's roster at some point next season.
O'Neal, 39, officially announced his retirement Wednesday using the new social media tool Tout, a real-time video messaging service to announce to fans: "We did it. Nineteen years baby. I want to thank you very much, that's why I'm telling you first, I'm about to retire. Love you, talk to you soon."
Had he been healthy enough to play regularly this season, Shaquille O'Neal said he believes the Celtics would have won another NBA championship.
"Once a businessman, always a businessman," O'Neal said with a smile later on Wednesday. "I am the emperor of the social media network. Why text when you can Tout?"
O'Neal said he wasn't prepared yet to reminisce about his long and prolific career, which produced three championships with the Lakers and one with the Heat. "Let's save that for the press conference on Friday," said O'Neal, who will hold that media event at his Isleworth home.
Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss says that O'Neal has not notified the team of his plans.
Assuming this is the swan song for Shaq, I wish the guy the best in retirement. I hope that retirement doesn't include nuptials to Hoopz (simp move!), more cheesy reality shows, or a stint as SlamBall coach. For the love of all things financial, I do hope it includes a trip to his attorney's office to get all of his child and spousal support obligations re-adjusted. Few things are sadder than watching a man still play a sport because he has to.
No Evander Holyfield.
No need to lie, as a one-time Charlotte Hornets fan, I used to hate Shaq with a passion. The way he'd destroy Alonzo Mourning as if he had a personal vendetta against the man's mother was heart wrenching. Over time, I started to appreciate the big guy's humor, lightheartedness, and allergy to taking himself to seriously. The world of sports hasn't ever seen a showman this entertaining and self-deprecating, and likely never will again.
Happy trails, Shaq Diesel.
Question: How long will Shaq stay retired? What's his next move? What's your favorite Shaq moment?