It’s the end of an era in the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal is retiring.
The 39-year-old NBA great announced his retirement on Wednesday (June 1), via new social media tool Tout (a real-time video messaging service), telling fans that after 19 years, his career in the NBA is done.
“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,” said Shaq.
“Once a businessman, always a businessman,” he added later. “I am the emperor of the social media network.”
His announcement was short and sweet, but he didn’t wanna reminisce about his long and prolific career just yet. He says he’ll talk all about that on Friday (June 3), during an official press conference, which he’ll be holding at his Isleworth, Florida home, reports ESPN.
While its likely official, a spokesman for the Boston Celtics, Shaq’s current team, said the NBA player has yet to inform the team.
Shaq retires as one of the all-time greats in the history of the NBA, full of accolades and achievements. He’s finishes as the fifth all-time in scoring with 28,596 career points; 12th with 13,099 rebounds; and second only to Artis Gilmore among players with more than 2,000 baskets with a .582 field goal percentage.
He was also named to the NBA All-Star 15 times, was MVP in 2000, earned three Finals MVP honors, and was named the 1993 Rookie of the Year. Shaq also has four championship rings — three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.
A couple fellow NBA players tweeted their reactions after hearing the news, praising the big Shaq on one helluva career.
“Shout out to @SHAQ on the hall of fame career. One of a kind player,” Celtics teammate Rajon Rondo tweeted (@RajonRondo).
LeBron James tweeted (@KingJames): “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!!”
When O’Neal was drafted with the #1 overall pick of the 1992 Draft, he saved the Orlando Magic, turning them into playoff contenders in just two years. In his third year, he led them to the NBA Finals, but were swept by the Houston Rockets.
O’Neal then signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 and had his greatest success out west, winning three titles alongside Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson. But amid tension between O’Neal and Bryant over credit for the team’s success, Big Shaq was traded to the Heat in the summer of 2004, fresh off a loss to the Detroit Pistons in the Finals.
He helped Miami win a championship, his fourth and Dwyane Wade’s first, and spent three-and-a-half years in South Beach, before spending his last four years in Phoenix, then Cleveland, and finally Boston. He couldn’t deliver a title for Nash, James, and/or the Big Three.
Shaq will go down as one of the most dominant players the game has ever seen, changing the NBA forever.