The long, illustrious career of Shaquille O’Neal has come to an end.
Before his official retirement news conference on Friday, Shaq spoke on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Show to give a few final words to his Boston fans.
“I thought that the Boston organization has treated me very, very well,” O’Neal said. “I could have go a little minor surgery and be out for nine months but then we would have been in the same situation again, everybody sitting around waiting for me. I didn’t want to let the people of Boston down two years in a row.”
O’Neal was limited to 37 games in his one season in Boston, and cites injuries as the primary reason for his retirement.
“I did everything — and I mean everything — to try to get back,” he said. “The organization, they were very, very supportive. There were times I wanted to play, and I wanted to play hurt, but they told me to get rest. They told me to lose a few pounds and work out and get ready for the playoffs. It just never got right.”
A four-time NBA champion and 15-time All-Star, O’Neal finishes his career ranked fifth all time in points. He played for the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns and Cavaliers before joining the Celtics for his 19th and final season.
Always one to keep things interesting, however, when asked if he was 100 percent he will never play again, O’Neal left the door open, replying, “For now, yes.”