Friday, June 3, 2011

Shaq: The End of an Era

Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement from the NBA. Today, he has made it official. This 7'1" monster who has won many titles and broken many records has finally decided to hang up the super XL jersey and go off into the great beyond of retirement.

I never played the game, but apparently it was pretty cheesy.

Coming from an unorthodox childhood, Shaq played basketball in Newark, New Jersey to stay off the streets. After a major growth spurt and increasing fire in the heart and soul, he was breaking records in high school and college. Although he didn't finish college right away, he later received his degree while still in the NBA. Yes, they didn't call him Dr. Shaq for nothing--although he didn't exactly get his doctorate just yet. You know what? Who cares? He still went back and completed his education.


As you may know, many things can happen in a 19-year career. After being drafted first overall in the '92 draft, he began making a massive impact in his rookie and sophomore seasons. This later resulted in a resurgence in the Orlando Magic franchise--however, O'Neal wouldn't stay there for much longer. Injuries came and injuries went, and he later went to a team that he became a large icon in. For eight years, Shaq became an unstoppable (and at some times controversial) force with the LA Lakers. Once Phil Jackson rose to power, the Lakers had created a dynasty with Shaq and Kobe Bryant at the center of it all. However, more controversies and injuries arose, and the tall guy made a departure that many in LA had been anticipating for quite some time.

I never saw this movie either...and I heard it wasn't very good.

After LA, Shaq went down to South Beach to play with the Miami Heat. With injury-plagued seasons and wayward methods of coaching/pay, he was no longer considered as a money-munching, attention-stealing whackjob. He was starting to be seen as a veteran who was willing to teach and guide up-and-coming stars like Dwayne Wade (and look where he is now, kiddies!). Over the next three to four seasons, Shaq had begun to admit that he wasn't meant to be the star of the team anymore, and his roles with Phoenix, Cleveland, and Boston began to diminish.
After playing basketball internationally, doing numerous television and commercial appearances, and making some inappropriate statements to the media, Shaq has decided to step down from his place in the NBA.

For being a big guy, he can certainly move...
From being a giant center around the paint, a jabbawocky, Ben Stein's partner in crime, a rapper, a believer in Icy Hot, a master of Shaq Fu, a pro wrestler superstar, actor, law enforcement extraordinaire, and an all-around entertainer, many people are currently wondering what made him decide to make a decision such as this.

It's rather easy to figure that out. Although he had set many season records and made more than a dozen All-Star appearances in his career, big and tall guys like him have problems where growth tends to get to you. He had many problems in his toes, his knees, and his tendons in his legs (think Achilles heels). Not only that, but he's 39--which is pretty old in any sport. For a few years he was the oldest guy in the NBA. In his last few years in the NBA, he experienced that Falling Action and Resolution in his career just as it should have been. Sure, many guys wanna come back and see if they get that Rising Action and Climax again, but I'm pretty sure he's not going to do that. He's most likely going to come back as an analyst or on commentary. And in all honesty, a lot of people are almost certain that's going to happen soon enough.

He made the choice at the best time in his career, and we're all going to remember his skill, huge size, his athleticism, and his versatility for many years to come.

However, he still lost to Aaron Carter (who apparently dropped off the face of the planet).

Best of luck in your future endeavors, Shaq.


(Much thanks to Basketball Reference, NBA, and for research purposes.)

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