Shaquille O'Neal calls time on outstanding career

ESPN staff
June 1, 2011
Shaquille O'Neal finished his career with the Boston Celtics © Getty Images

Shaquille O'Neal called time on one of the greatest careers in NBA history on Wednesday.

O'Neal is surely heading for a future Hall of Fame induction after winning four NBA titles, three with the LA Lakers and one with the Miami Heat, while his scoring record totalled up a staggering 28,596 points.

Using social media tool Tout, O'Neal addressed 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."

The 39-year-old will address the media at a press conference on Friday, where he will no doubt explain how his decision came to fruition.

O'Neal is in the midst of a two-year contract with the Boston Celtics, but an Achilles problem picked up on Christmas Day has ruined his season.

"I really, really thought about coming back," he said, "but this Achilles is very damaged and if I had it done (surgery) the recovery would be so long we'd have the same outcome as this last year - everyone sitting around and waiting for me.

"I didn't want to let people down two years in a row. I didn't want to hold Boston hostage again. I'm letting everybody know now so Danny [Ainge] and the organization can try to get younger talent. I would love to come back, but they say once the Achilles is damaged it's never the same. I don't want to take that chance."

"I just hated to let the city of Boston down. I really grew to love the place. Everyone was so welcoming to me and treated me so great. They believed in me and they took care of me, especially the great people of Sudbury. I love that town.

"We were supposed to win this year but 'supposed' doesn't count. The path was there for us. All the so-called super powers were gone - LA, San Antonio. I really feel if I was on the court we would have done it, but I don't believe in 'ifs.' "

Summing up how he would like to be remembered, O'Neal said: "I tried to make people happy and I tried to have fun. I think I did both."

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