Legendary center Shaquille O’Neal has announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the National Basketball Association. The decision was fueled by a Achilles injury suffered this season while he was playing for the Boston Celtics. O’Neal tried to return in the postseason but was shut down, as his hardest attempts to return were denied by the injury. “Shaq”, as he was famously known, finished with 4 championship rings and 28,596 points in a surefire Hall-of-Fame career. O’Neal played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, where he teamed with Kobe Bryant for 3 championship rings, Miami Heat, where he one another championship, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Celtics, where he signed a 2-year contract as a free agent but due to the injury was not able to fulfill his contract. The 39-year old, always the entrepreneur, announced his retirement via Tout, a form of social media. When O’Neal was on the court during the 2010/2011 season, the Celtics soared. Unfortunately, after Christmas, O’Neal wasn’t on the court very often, and the Celtics eventually lost to the Miami Heat in the playoffs. O’Neal’s recovery rehab was praised by many of the Celtics team members, as they noticed how much O’Neal wanted to return. It was not to be. O’Neal decided to retire as the only way to solve the Achilles injury was to get surgery, but the recovery time was around 9 months, much too long for O’Neal. His main priority was to not let down the city of Boston and the Celtics organization, and he decided it would be best to walk away, and leave a celebrated career behind. O’Neal heaped praise on the city of Boston and the support he received the second he signed a free agent contract on August 4th, 2010. O’Neal also repeatedly complimented Celtics coach Doc Rivers, saying he was one of the best coaches he had ever played for. Shaq leaves basketball as one of the most influential and greatest players in any sport over the past century. His notoriously poor free throw shooting was always fun to talk about and watch. He leaves a storied career and sadly, the Kobe-Shaq rivalry and championship ring count. Bryant has 5 career championship rings. O’Neal was an entertainer his whole career, changing the whole sports world with his play and playful attitude. He left the NBA as the oldest active player, but still thrived.
More reaction to come.