It seems like only yesterday that Shaquille O’Neal arrived in the NBA, testing the structural integrity of basketball rims everywhere.
O’Neal officially arrived in the NBA 20 years ago Tuesday, when the Orlando Magic signed the No. 1 draft pick on Aug. 7, 1992. Over the next 19 years, the 7-foot-1, 330-pound behemoth challenged conventions while shattering backboards. His footwork was impeccable, he had the passing instincts of a point guard and his strength was unmatched. He won four NBA championships, one league Most Valuable Player Award, three All-Star Game MVPs and three Finals MVPs.
O’Neal also supplied writers with endless notebook fodder, from his just-crazy-enough-to-sound-plausible logic to a stream of creative nicknames. He was dubbed “The Diesel,” “Daddy,” “The Big Aristotle,” “The Big Shamrock” (during his time with the Celtics) and was the original “Superman.”
His most popular nickname, though, was simply “Shaq.”