The Big Aristotle's always been one for philosophizing. And that being the case, he's got a little theory for us.
Shaquille O'Neal may still be weeks away from joining his Celtic teammates at training camp to prepare for the 2010-11 season, but he's already got his thoughts on how the coming season will unfold, and he's not shy about it.
"I'd say they're pretty damn good," O'Neal said on Saturday when asked about the Celtics' chances of bringing an 18th banner back to Boston in 2011.
That's Shaq for you. We're still eight weeks away from the season tipping off and the Diesel making his debut in Celtic green, but he's already talking smack for all the world to hear.
He'll be talking the talk all year. We'll have to find out whether he can walk the walk.
With Shaquille O'Neal, this is what you get. You get a basketball player and you get a showman. Shaq has won four NBA titles and mad 15 All-Star teams; he's also released six rap albums, starred in movies, carried his own reality TV show and even become an honorary law enforcement officer. Shaq isn't an athlete — he's a modern renaissance man.
You could argue that that's what's held him back from reaching his true potential. There are two different kinds of basketball stars — there are the guys singularly focused on basketball, always looking to get better and win more, and there are the guys who use their stardom to vault into other things. For some, it's about the game; for others, it's about the fame.
Kobe Bryant is the poster boy for that first group. Even with five rings and the admiration of all his peers, he never stops wanting more. So while Shaq was making a public appearance at the TD Garden this weekend, schmoozing with Celtics fans at Saturday's Ultimate Fighting Championship, Kobe was probably in the gym, working on his game.
That's always been the great contrast between the two superstars, both living Laker legends. One's playing the game, the other's playing the field.
But now with Shaq realizing his mortality at 38, looking ahead to what will likely be the final two years of his career, it's time to see if he can make one last push.
With Kobe sitting on five rings and Shaq clinging to his four, the rivalry will take center stage this season. Celtics-Lakers has been elevated to another level.
So when Shaq says he likes his chances of getting another ring next spring, you'd better listen.
There's no limit to what Shaq can do, even at 38, when he puts his mind and his 325-pound body to it. If he shows up to camp recommitted and refocused on basketball, the rest of the NBA could be in for a shock.
Shaq won't play the same role that he did on his first three championship teams in L.A., or even on the fourth, when he was Dwyane Wade's relatively unheralded sidekick in Miami. He'll be a role player. He'll give the Celtics a little bit of low-post scoring, a little bit of much-needed offensive rebounding and a solid veteran presence. He'll also of course bring his celebrity and his larger-than-life personality.
But he'll still be a big piece of the formula to bring another championship to Boston.
The Real Shaq has over 3 million followers on Twitter. When he speaks, the world listens. So when he tells you the Celtics have their sights set on big things this season, he's not messing around. Get ready for Shaq and the C's to make history.
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