One of the legendary players of the National Basketball Association has announced his retirement.
Having recently completed his 19th season in the league, Shaquille O’Neal, 39, who won three NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, has decided to retire. He won a fourth title with the Miami Heat.
Shaq played this past season with the Boston Celtics, but injured his Achilles tendon on Christmas day.
According to an article at ESPN.com, Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss said in a statement released by the team, "Shaq had a long and amazing career, with a huge impact both on and off the court. His contributions were significant to the entire NBA, but we specifically appreciate what he did with and what he meant to the Lakers during his eight years with us. We have three championships that we wouldn’t have won without him, and we will forever be grateful for his significant contributions to those teams."
The story added, " ‘He’s a giant,’ commissioner David Stern said Wednesday at the NBA Finals in Miami. ‘He’s physically imposing; he has an imposing smile. In the game, he imposed his will, and he has done it for quite a long time. It’s been a great run here, and we’re going to miss him greatly. We hope we can find ways to keep him involved in the game." Stern added later in a statement: "On behalf of the NBA, its teams, and his millions of fans around the world, I want to thank Shaq for everything he has meant to the league and to the sport of basketball, both on and off the court. We wish him and his family all the best.’ "
More comments from the ESPN article: " ‘I’m a little bit sad,’ said Pat Riley, the Heat president who was also the coach in 2006 when O’Neal won a title in Miami. ‘It’s the end of an absolute 20-year career. Great, great player. … The league’s going to miss Shaq. I’m sure Shaq will do something big and beyond.’ LeBron James tweeted: ‘What a career for Shaq Diesel!! The most dominating force to ever play the game. Great person to be around as well. Comedy all the time!!’
The story also noted that Shaq "revealed his retirement earlier Wednesday using the new social media tool Tout, a real-time video messaging service, to announce to 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.’ "
To the videotape: