Shaquille O’Neal is considered the most dominant center ever. He was an unstoppable force down low and a guy people actually got hurt when trying to hack and send to the line.
Throughout most of his career, The Big Diesel got used to seeing the offense of the game flow through him. People fed him in the post and half-court because there weren’t many human beings capable of containing him.
However, he kind of tainted his legacy during the last couple of years of his career, when most people thought he should’ve just retired instead of trying to force his body to pursue another ring.
And now, 9 years later, Shaq finally admitted that he wasn’t at his best during his brief tenure with the Boston Celtics, and that’s why he decided to retire a year earlier after signing a two-year contract with them because he felt like he was robbing them:
“In my mind, I’m like I’m used to parades and banners and making people complain to the refs and making people say ‘Oh we playin’ against Shaq? I don’t want to play tonight.’ That’s what I want to be remembered as. And growing up in that military family, my father says you always gotta look a man or a woman in the face and be honest. And I felt like I was robbing them. I didn’t feel right. (Coach Doc Rivers) told me when I came in ‘We’re not going to need you to do much. Just rebound.’ And I accepted and said O.K,” O’Neal told Kristine Leahy’s Fair Game.
shaq also admitted that he was just trying to get another ring before retiring, after winning 3 with the Los Angeles Lakers and 1 with the Miami Heat. However, he added that he thinks the team would’ve won another ring if Kendrick Perkins would’ve stayed or he would’ve stayed healthy:
“I just wanted to try to …. I was ring chasing. I’m being honest. Yeah, I was ring chasing. I was ring chasing, I really was. But I wanted to help because Paul (Pierce) was one of my favorite players and I love Kevin (Garnett),” The Big Diesel concluded.
Shaq was only able to play 37 games that season with averages of 9.2 points and 4.8 boards per game, both career lows for him. The Celtics went on to make it to the playoffs, but were knocked out by LeBron James and the Miami Heat.