Shaquille O'Neal has a legacy for himself in mind, and he knows what he has to do to get it.
When asked in a New Orleans Times Picayune interview on Sunday about how he wants to be remembered, Shaq responded authoritatively.
"I never had an inconsistent year, and I’ve always been dominant," he said. "I’m the
No. 5 all-time scorer — 2,000 points behind Wilt Chamberlain. Once I
pass him up, I want the title as the most dominant to ever play the
game. When I’m done, it would be nice to say that I passed up
Chamberlain, earned five rings, and finished in the [top] 10 all time in
blocks and rebounds. Hopefully all of that will put me on the first
ballot for the Hall of Fame."
O'Neal's math was a little off, though. With 28,255 points, Shaq is actually 3,164 behind Chamberlain's 31,419 mark that is good for fourth all time.
If he does in fact intend on surpassing Chamberlain, that's great news for the Celtics. If Shaq plays in all 82 games for the team for the next two seasons, O'Neal would have to average 19 points per game to reach that mark.
If Shaq plays in 65 games and averages 12 points per game — a more realistic pace — he'd have to play with the Celtics until 2014.
He's already likely to be the oldest player in the NBA next season.
O'Neal may have set the bar a little high, but he'll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer regardless. If he can come close to reaching Wilt's points figure, he'll probably get himself that fifth ring, too.
NESN.com will showcase one Moment of Shaq every day until the
Celtics open the season against the Heat on Oct. 26 at the TD Garden.
Sept. 5: Shaq's 1999-2000 campaign was an epic.