Repeatedly referring to his career as “his book,” O’Neal emphasized winning, championships and his legacy when addressing the media.
“At the end of the day, when I close the book, it’s all about winning,” Shaq said. “Since 1992, all I’ve wanted to do is leave my mark and win championships.”
Below are some other points Shaq covered during his introduction to the Boston media.
He emphasized his desire to be part of the pantheon of great NBA big men. He recalled a moment from his childhood when his father told him: “You gotta be a shot blocker like Bill Russell, dominant like Wilt [Chamberlain], a scorer like [Kareem–Abdul Jabbar].”
He went on to particularly thank Russell for reaching out to him and giving him advice throughout his career.
Geared Up for Green Team
O’Neal spent plenty of time giving praise to his new teammates.
About his new point guard, he said, “[Rajon] Rondo just took his game to a whole new superstar level.”
He praised Kendrick Perkins for being one of the game’s best defenders and said that he was excited to share his 18 years of knowledge with Glen Davis, as well as have a clam chowder eating contest with him. He also asserted that Paul Pierce was just as good a scorer as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
Shaq also had kind words for Doc Rivers, whom he says has “a great rapport with his players.” In addition, O’Neal is excited to play for a coach who had great “heart” and “passion” when he played himself.
Shaq, who stated that he is favoring “The Big Shamrock” for his nickname, made one minor gaffe when he said that Kevin Garnett was one of his favorite young players. After being called out for the mistake, he asked KG his age and found out that he was 34.
“Oh, that ain’t bad,” O’Neal responded.
A Big Appetite for a Big Man
O’Neal is still hungry for titles.
“If I didn’t [have the hunger], I wouldn’t be here. Do I have the same hunger? Yes,” he admitted.
The Big Shamrock wants to win two more titles, and because he missed over 200 games in his career from injury, he “owes everybody 2-3 years.”
A Legendary Compliment
Rivers stated that Shaq could really help the team on the glass, which was one of Boston’s weaknesses last season. He also asserted that Shaq could follow in Bill Walton‘s footsteps.
“The Celtics have a history of bringing in legends who have enough to give to help teams win. It is a formula that has worked very well in Boston, and that we hope continues to work,” Rivers said.
The Lighter Side of Shaq
Shaq, of course, did offer up a few offbeat moments, such as listing his official height and weight as “7-foot-1 345 [pounds]. And I eat a lot of cereal — Frosted Flakes.”
As for the No. 36?
“I’ve always been in the 30s, and this is my sixth team, so 36,” he clarified.
O’Neal also insisted that it will be the final jersey he wears before moving onto other endeavors following his NBA career: “When I’m done [in Boston], the Shaq O’Neal show is going to shut a lot of shows down.”