The big man has left the building

I cannot believe that Shaquille O’Neal has decided to retire, or that he did it in a very low key way for his fans via social media. For me personally Shaq is the first superstar of my era of sports fandom to retire. I remember when Shaq was drafted when I was in high school and in my mind that makes it after I was a kid, and boy do I feel old that his entire career has gone by as I have grown what is the word, oh ya…. old.

I think this was the right decision by Shaq, and I hope we do not see a Brett Favre/ Michael Jordan return to the game for the big man. In fact I would like to forget the past few years and remember Shaq in his prime. In the end he (and Penny Hardaway) put the then fledgling Orlando Magic on the map, he went on the Los Angeles Larkers to win three titles, he would then move on to the Miami Heat and help Dwayne Wade win his first NBA title. What followed where mostly forgettable stints with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics.

I don’t think it is very fair to make Shaq wait for hall of fame enshrinement. He was the most dominant player of his generation, he won four NBA titles, three times he was the NBA finals MVP, a 15 time all star, and a three time all star game MVP. On top of that is an era filled with aloof players he made a real connection with his fans. Goodbye Shaq, thanks for all the memories.