The NBA star Shaquille O’Neal announced on Wednesday that he is retiring from basketball, after a professional career of almost two decades.
At 39 years old, the dominant center player that played on four NBA championship teams feels that the time has come for him to leave the spotlight of the basketball field. He is one of the most popular and most accomplished personalities in basketball. After a career that started in 1992, this Wednesday, after almost 20 years of playing, he posted a video on Twitter saying he plans to retire. “We did it. Nineteen years baby” he said and thanked his followers by letting them now what his plans were: “I’m telling you first, I’m about to retire. Thank you, talk to you soon!” he concluded.
Shaquille O’Neal made his first career steps in 1992, when he was taken by the Orlando Magic as the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. He weighed 325 pounds ( which is 147 kg) and was 7.1 ft tall ( 2.16 m). His imposing stature gave him the advantage of the high profile from the very beginning.
In 1996 he moved to the Los Angeles Lakers. This gave him the opportunity of being a part of a championship that was run with the young Kobe Bryant, that produced not less than three NBA titles, one after the other, from the season of 1999 – 2000. He was named league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2000.
Four years later, in 2004 O’Neil moved again, this time to the Miami Heat team and won the 2006 NBA championship. He then played for the Phoenix Suns from 2008 to 2009, the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2009 to 2010 and the Boston Celtics from 2010 to 2011.
Shaq was married from 2002 to 2009 to Shaunie Nelson and they have four children together: Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me’arah. Both O’Neil and Nelson had each one child from previous relationships. Shaunie had a boy, Myles, and Shaq had a girl, Taahirah. After the couple got divorced in 2009, Shaquille, 39, started dating reality TV star Nikki Alexander, 27.
Once out of NBA, Shaq will have more time to dedicate to his hobbies and business: real estate, martial arts and who knows, maybe he will even continue with his music career. We wish you the best, Shaq!