by Sam Riches / @sam_riches
Earlier today, Shaquille O’Neal returned to where it all began, to officially announce that it was all over. From his home in Orlando, Shaq stepped away from the game that he has dominated for the last 19 years. His days of striking fear in opponents and tearing down backboards, brought to an unfortunate end by a series of injuries.
With a Superman logo visible in the side of the room, the man who had become a superhero to many, carried out the press conference in his typical jovial manner.
“‘I’ve always heard the most dominant two players were Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal. So, Wilts at 31 thousand and I’m at, ya know, 28 thousand. So if I had a 100 points fewer than him then I would come back to pass him up and then that would put me at the most dominant player in the world. But I’m about three years away, so I just have to remain at number five for now.’
Me and my father were joking the other day and I was like, “Dad I’m retiring” …and he was like, “You dummy, if you had hit them free throws like I taught you how to shoot them you would have had 30 thousand points.”
Though Shaq first announced his retirement two days ago through a video posted to Twitter, many doubted whether or not it was true. With today’s press conference officially cementing the fact that the NBA has indeed lost one of its biggest personalities, Shaq made it clear he would not be absent for long, stating that he plans on continuing to entertain the public for the next 19 years.
As the NBA embraces a new generation of talent, today should serve as a remembrance and celebration of all that The Big Aristotle gave to the game; fifteen All-Star selections, four rings, and three NBA finals MVP awards. Not to mention countless highlights, quotes and moments of drama.