was drafter number one overall in the 1992 NBA Draft out of Louisiana State University to the Orlando Magic
. O’Neal came into the NBA known as the “Man of Steel” and did everything in his powers to live up to the name as he came in breaking down backboards one by one. He is ranked fifth all-rime in scoring, fifth in field goals, 12 in rebounds, and seventh in blocks.
During his run he powered his-self to the 1992-1993 NBA Rookie of the Year honors, four rings including three NBA Finals MVP’s and a regular season 1999-2000 MVP. He was named a NBA All-Star 15 times both East and West teams, and won the NBA All-Star MVP three times. He won two scoring titles while being named All-NBA first team eight times, All-NBA second team two times and All-NBA third team four times. He also won a FIBA 1994 World Championship and was named MVP then won a 1996 Olympic Gold medal.
O'Neal at the age of 39, revealed his retirement earlier Wednesday using the social media site Tout. Tout is a real-time video messaging service and he used this to talk to the fans and do his own press release to make the announcement to his fans:
We did it. Nineteen years baby. I want to thank you very much, that's why I'm telling you first, I'm about to retire. Love you, talk to you soon.
O’Neal later said on ESPN that he will save his true press conference for Friday at his house wanting to host the media to pay them back for hosting him all these years.
Shaq was known for his nicknames just as much as his game. Coming into the NBA as "Shaq", "The Diesel", "Shaq Fu", "The Big Daddy", "Superman", "The Big Agave", "The Big Cactus", "The Big Shaqtus", "The Big Galactus", "Wilt Chamberneezy", "The Big Baryshnikov", "The Real Deal", "Dr. Shaq" (after earning his MBA), "The Big Shamrock", "The Big Leprechaun", "Shaqovic.", and more recently[when?] "The Big Conductor".
O’Neal began his career in Orlando for the Magic where he played five years where he went to the 1995 NBA Playoffs, and finished second in the NBA MVP race to David Robinson formally of the San Antonio Spurs. Shaq and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway led them to the NBA Finals where they were swept by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler of the Houston Rockets. Shaq missed 28 games in the during the 1995-1996 season as the Magic reached the Eastern Conference Finals again, but was swept by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls who went on to win the NBA Championship that year.
Shaq became a free-agent in 1996 and he moved his talents to the Westcoast where he signed a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, and later teamed up with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. He won his first three titles with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The Lakers beat the Indian Pacers in 2000, The Philadelphia 76ers in 2001, and New Jersey Nets in the 2002 earning Finals MVP all three years.
The Lakers had a chance to win another NBA title in 2004, but the Lakers fell short when they faced the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals. The Lakers lost 4-1 and the pressure on the Lakers to choose between Shaq and Kobe Bryant began to grow and the Lakers traded him to the Miami Heat
. The trade included Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and a first-round draft choice.
O’Neal played for the Miami Heat in the 2004-2005 season helping them get to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lose a Game 7 to the Detroit Pistons. Shaq almost won his second MVP this year, but lost in narrowly to Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns
. He had injury troubles to begin the 2005-2006 season missing 18 games. The Magic bounced back to get to the NBA Finals by beating the Detroit Pistons, and face the Dallas Mavericks where he won his fourth NBA title.
Shaq missed 35 games in the 2006-2007 season as the whole Heat team suffered with injuries, but they still managed to make it to the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls in the first round. They did not advance to the second round as the Bulls sweep them out of the playoffs. In the beginning of the 2007-2008 season O’Neal suffered career lows in points, rebounds, and blocks having his 14 straight All-Star appearances end. He was then shipped to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Shaq helped the Suns get to the playoffs averaging 12.9 points and 10.6 rebounds.
The Suns faced the San Antonio Spurs in the first round where Shaq averaged 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds, but they lost in five games. In the 2008-2009 season Shaq boosted his numbers back to All-Star caliber with 18 points, nine rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game. He made his 15th All-Star appearance as a reserve, but stole the show with his opening game performance with the Jabbawockeez. He was later named co-MVP with former teammate Kobe Bryant.
June 25, 2009 Shaq was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers
for Sasha Pavlovic, Ben Wallace, $500,000 and a 2010 second round draft pick. When Shaq arrived, his motto for Cleveland was simple,
Win a Ring for the King,
as he teamed up with former Cleveland Cav LeBron James. Shaq powered out the gate only to later suffer a thumb injury on March 1 and did not return until April 17. The Cavs reached the playoffs and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals where they lost to the Boston Celtics in six games.
Shaq joined the Boston Celtics
as a free agent on August 4, 2010 declining to play for the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks. The Celtics were 33-10 in games that Kendrick Perkins missed, and 19-3 in games O’Neal played over 20 minutes. He then suffered a Achillies injury which forced him to miss 27 games, and came back to play only five minutes before straining his right calf. The Celtics still made it to the playoffs where Shaq did not play in the first round as they advanced to the second round where he only played 12 minutes total against the Heat as they lost in five games. That was the last time Shaq wore a jersey and will ever wear one as he said he will not hold Boston Celtics or any other team hostage.
• 15-time NBA All-Star
• 28,596 career points (5th all-time)
• 2000 NBA MVP
• 3-time NBA Finals MVP (2000-02)
• 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year
• 13 seasons with 20 PPG and 10 RPG (most in NBA)
• 5,250 postseason points (4th all-time in NBA)
• 216 postseason games played (3rd all-time in NBA)