I want to remember him as Shaq-Fu. Superman. The Diesel. I want to recall the silhouetted logo of the big man tomahawking the ball home with both legs kicking up in the air. Unfortunately, O’Neal, the Hall-of-Fame center, is shopping around for another new home. He’s interested in the C’s and, apparently, there are multiple teams interested in him. Still, can’t we call for an end to an extraordinarily memorable career? Pretty-please?
I understand Shaq doesn’t want to hang it up quite yet. And, yes, even a battered and worn down Shaquille O’Neal is a more able-bodied big man than many NBA teams can trot out there today. Still, he seems to have crossed that imaginary line where the if the legacy could be at all tarnished it may be soon. The imperfect test will be a decade from now when folks like me are sharing a beer with their 40-something buddies (wishful thinking?) and trying to recall all the teams O’Neal played with over the course of his career.
The list would’ve felt just right with Orlando, L.A. and Miami. Nobody would have made a peep should Shaq-Fu have hung it up following the 06-07 season when he played in only 40 games and had already won a title with Riley and crew in South Florida the previous year. A 325-lber banger with 14 years of tread on the tires and four titles to his credit? Yup, retirement would have been perceived as quite logical.
Instead, we will be struggling for Phoenix, Cleveland and ??? years from now in that bar debate? Want one more reason I think the Big Aristotle should gracefully bow out instead of punish himself for another season? The numbers. More specifically, let’s call it the 50% rule. For his career, Shaq’s current points and rebounding averages are 24 points and 11 boards a game. Last year in Cleveland, his final tallies were 12.0 and 6.7. He was literally avout half the man he used to be. And while that half may be more than enough to keep playing the game (when your career marks are HOF material), it should be a sign to the player that the time has come.
Here’s to Shaq callin’ it quits. So, I can more fondly recall when he was a Shaq-knife and used to cut folks with precision. Can we rock?
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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.