Boston Celtics: ShaqRetires
June, 3, 2011
June, 3, 2011
ESPN ScreenshotAlways the joker, Shaq opened his press conference fielding a job interview offer from the Knicks.Two quick takeaways after Shaquille O'Neal's retirement press conference Friday at his home near Orlando:
* Flanked by his college coach, LSU's Dale Brown, O'Neal made sure to single out two other coaches during the early portion of his speech: Phil Jackson of the Lakers and Doc Rivers of the Celtics. O'Neal spoke glowingly of Rivers, who was supposed to attend, but had to cancel due to a family commitment.
“Playing for Doc Rivers this year was very, very special," said O'Neal. "There's a lot of talent on that [Celtics] team and [Rivers] always, always, always focused on the team. I came in after going 5-for-6 [shooting from the field] and I'd say, 'Coach, I can go 10-for-12, or 12-for-18.' And he'd say, 'Shaq, it's not about you, it's about the team.' So, thank you, Doc."
* O'Neal reiterated much of what he told ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan the day of his retirement, including that surgery around the ailing right Achilles likely meant a nine-month recovery and he didn't want to hold the fans of Boston hostage for another season. He said he wanted to alert Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge of his intentions to retire immediately as to allow the team to start the process of getting younger and more athletic. O'Neal again stressed a disappointment in being unable to stay on the floor, saying he felt like he let the city down. He called the Celtics a "beautiful organization" and suggested there's still championship potential moving forward.
Click HERE to read more about O'Neal's retirement.
Shaquille O'Neal phoned into Mike & Mike Friday morning in advance of his retirement press conference at his home in Orlando. Click HERE to read more from his interview, or check out the video embedded above.
O'Neal also phoned into Boston sports radio WEEI (850 AM), where he talked about his final season in Boston and how much of a factor injuries were in Boston's early exit.
"I think if everything goes right [Boston can contend for a title next season]," said O'Neal. "A lot of people weren’t talking about it, but Kevin [Garnett] was very banged up. He never complained. Also a great player, a future Hall of Famer. A lot players were banged up. Paul [Pierce] was banged up there at the end. We just couldn’t get it going."
Click HERE to read a complete transcript on WEEI.com.
ESPN ScreenshotShaq has some fun as ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan appears on SportsCenter.ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan checks in from Orlando, site of Shaquille O’Neal’s retirement press conference at 1 p.m. ET (you can watch it here on ESPNBoston.com), which promises to be a circus. Shaq has a little fun with ESPN during the interview, at one point walking behind MacMullan while she’s talking.
“He’s overjoyed, he’s comfortable, he’s relaxed,” MacMullan said. “He was actually just a few minutes ago jumping up and down about the possibility of having sausage and biscuits. This guy, believe me, is ready to retire.”
Later on SportsCenter, Shaq makes a cameo in a couple of live video segments with Jeannine Edwards. Check it out HERE.
June, 2, 2011
AP Photo/Charles KrupaShaquille O'Neal couldn't picture himself in this uniform as a kid.With Shaquille O'Neal's retirement Wednesday, we've been digging through our notes from the 2010-11 season and, as you'd probably expect, finding all sorts of leftover gems from O'Neal's 10 months in Boston. Here's one particularly fun story that O'Neal relayed to reporters on the third day of training camp in Newport, R.I. back in late September.
O'Neal had been asked if he had any allegiances to the Celtics as a kid, which launched him into story mode:
"Not at all. I was a Magic Johnson man. True story: I had a best friend in Georgia, this white guy named Mitch Rawls [note: forgive us if the spelling is incorrect]. He looked just like Larry Bird. He was Bird and I was Magic. We were best friends, but we'd fight every day. We'd have seven-game series every day and we used to fight. Then when I moved to Germany, his father got transferred with my father, so we just kept it going over there.
"I didn't like the Celtics because my best friend was Bird. He had the same little nose as Bird and the long hair. And I hated him, so I hated [the Celtics] guts. As I became a student of the game, I found out about this great team and all the great players, all the Hall of Famers. Then I met Larry Bird one day, coming out of college, and Larry Bird said I was going to be the best player in the world. I always thought that was a compliment from the great Larry Bird."
Asked about any particularly memorable moments from that childhood rivalry, O'Neal's eyes lit up.
"I remember one time, I pushed him out of bounds and he shot that [expletive] over the backboard, just like Bird did [in a 1986 preseason game against the Houston Rockets]. He shot it right over the [expletive] backboard and it went in. He's running around and so we got into a fight. I beat him up. It was intense. Mitch Rawls. Maybe he'll find this and give me a call."
Shaq's got plenty of free time now. Give him a call, Mitch.
June, 2, 2011
By Chris Forsberg and Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesWe look back on Shaquille O'Neal's fascinating 10 months in Boston.Shaquille O'Neal arrived in Boston noting he only had 730 days left in his NBA career. Turns out injuries would prevent him from even reaching the halfway point. Regardless, O'Neal's 300 days in Boston were a fascinating journey filled with numerous noteworthy moments. Check out the timeline below for a full log of key dates in O'Neal's Boston adventure, from courtship to his final NBA game:
Aug 2: Appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Amid speculation that he might sign with the Celtics for the final two years of his career, Shaquille O'Neal made a guest appearance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, and the conversation naturally shifted to potential destinations for the veteran free agent. When asked by Kimmel if he could imagine himself in a Celtics uniform, O'Neal replied: "[The] Celtics would be a good program." Kimmel then asked O'Neal if he would feel weird putting on a Celtics uniform, seeing as he played for their rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, for eight seasons. O'Neal replied by shaking his head, saying, "No."
Aug. 4: Celtics officially sign Shaq
Just two days after O'Neal told Jimmy Kimmel he could see himself in a Celtics uniform, it became a reality, as the Celtics announced they had officially inked Shaq to a two-year contract worth the veteran's minimum salary of $1.4 million. The signing netted them another interior force to help combat the absence of Kendrick Perkins, who, at the time, was still rehabbing the torn ACL in his right knee. The C's announced Shaq would wear No. 36. In the ensuing days, speculation was raised as to whether or not O'Neal would be able to accept a reserve role in Boston, and whether he would hinder the Celtics' strong team chemistry.
June, 1, 2011
Maybe no player enjoyed the presence of Shaquille O'Neal on the Celtics' roster this year more than Kevin Garnett. After years of head-to-head battles, Garnett took great pride in the opportunity to play alongside O'Neal, who he affectionately referred to as "Big Fella" throughout the 2010-11 season.
Steve Babineau/NBAE/GettyKevin Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal together during the preseason.
With the help of KG's representatives, Garnett provided the following statement to ESPN on Shaq's retirement Wednesday:
"It was a pleasure to play with the Big Fella. It was most definitely a life experience. My big brother from a different mother. It's love all day and I wish him nothing but the best. The game's gonna miss you. Look out world, here comes Shaq."
The presence of O'Neal allowed Garnett to let his guard down this past season and savor the season a bit more than maybe he previously had.
June, 1, 2011
Shaquille O'Neal's retirement will leave a big void in the NBA, but his best moments on and off the court will continue to live on. Five ESPN.com writers looks back on their fondest memories of the The Big Aristotle, er, The Big Shamrock ... The Big Shaqtus ... whatever, after 19 very quotatious years.
Click HERE to read the full story.
June, 1, 2011
NBA commissioner David Stern reacted to the retirement of Shaquille O'Neal in a statement distributed by the league:
“For 19 seasons, Shaquille O'Neal was literally and figuratively an NBA giant. On behalf of the NBA, its teams, and his millions of fans around the world, I want to thank Shaq for everything he has meant to the league and to the sport of basketball, both on and off the court. We wish him and his family all the best.”
How do the Boston Celtics replace Shaquille O'Neal? It'll be easier to do on the court than off:
David Liam Kyle/Getty ImagesThe Celtics only got 37 games out of Shaquille O'Neal, but a full season worth of memories.
What does the retirement of Shaquille O'Neal mean for the Boston Celtics moving forward? Probably more off the court than on it.
Yes, the Celtics performed at an exceptional level when O'Neal was healthy this past season. Not only was Boston 27-9 with O'Neal in the starting lineup but it was 20-5 when he played 20 minutes or more. It's that sort of impact that gave the Celtics the confidence to deal away Kendrick Perkins at the trade deadline, unaware that O'Neal's injuries would limit him to 17½ minutes after Feb. 1 and, ultimately, force him into retirement.
But O'Neal's presence might truly be missed more off the court, where his trademark smile and booming laughter permeated the entire locker room through the early portion of the season, particularly training camp. That prompted even Kevin Garnett to let his guard down at times and savor the moments with both players nearing the twilights of their careers. It was Garnett who flew in from Hawaii just to be at O'Neal's introductory news conference in August, and the two often made reference to how enjoyable the other made the 2010-11 campaign, with Garnett affectionately referring to O'Neal as the "Big Fella" throughout the season.
Click HERE to read the full story.