Golden State Warriors center Jermaine O’Neal will consult with this family this summer on whether or not to walk away from the NBA after 18 seasons. O’Neal’s season came to an end in Game 7 against the LA Clippers, after he gutted out a knee injury to give the Dubs a few minutes. Per CSN Bay Area:
“It’s been a fantastic run,” O’Neal said late Saturday night, after a 126-121 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center bounced the Warriors from the playoffs.
“I tried. All you can do is try. You feel much more comfortable sleeping at night when you know that you’ve tried.”
O’Neal, who played only three minutes because of a bone bruise on his right kneecap, then paused for a few seconds, a 6-foot-11 center straddling the sensitive line between melancholy and discontent.
“I never pictured that what could be, if it is, your last game, you’re not able to be effective in a Game 7,” the 18-year veteran said. “That’s a tough pill to swallow.
“But I’m proud of the guys.”
O’Neal had been this team’s Yoda, its fountain of perspective and its calibrating influence. The six-time All-Star had played for six previous teams. The last three seasons, derailed by injuries, were unkind. He signed with the Warriors last July, seeking one more chance at postseason glory.
O’Neal did not fly back to Oakland in the wee hours Sunday morning, saying he would spend the day with his wife, Mesha, and their teen-age daughter, Asjia, who is 14 months removed from undergoing open-heart surgery. O’Neal said he would take time to “reflect.”
And there is the boy, eight-year-old Jermaine Jr., who also must be consulted.
“Being a kid that was raised without his father, I know how hard these last few years have been for my son,” O’Neal said. “I’m going to sit down and have another conversation with an eight-year old, again, and see where the blessings are for me.
“But I can say this: I appreciate what my teammates have done for me this year, injecting life back into my soul. I appreciate what our organization has done for me. I appreciate what the fan base has done for me, giving me love for basketball again. I appreciate what coach Jackson has done for me. I appreciate what the owners have done for me.
“I wish we could repay everybody by winning it all, but this year it wasn’t in the cards.”