When Shaquille O’Neal announced he retired from the NBA on Wednesday, the 15-time All-Star finished one of the best careers of all time for any basketball player. But O’Neal is not only known for his brilliant basketball career. He is also a media favorite for his down-to-earth character and activities off the court.
June 1992: Shaquille O’Neal drafted by the Orlando Magic with first overall pick
Before he was a Los Angeles Laker and eventually won four NBA championships, Shaq started off his career playing center for the Magic. Although the team could have picked Alonzo Mourning or Christian Laettner, O’Neal provided Orlando with great offense and was the 1993 Rookie of the Year.
1993: O’Neal began music career
Famously known for his silly off the court antics, Shaq was also a popular rapper in 1993. The four-time NBA champion mostly released hip hop albums, producing five studio records and one compilation album.
1994: Shaq begins his movie and television career
Although O’Neal will most likely be remembered for his stellar shooting and rebounding, O’Neal also starred in a few movies and television shows. Some of his films that he acted in were Blue Chips, Kazaam and Good Burger. Along with Larry David, O’Neal also made a name for himself on television as he made two appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm, My Wife and Kids and The Parkers.
July to August 1996: O’Neal helped U.S. Olympic Team Earn a Gold Medal
After playing four All-Star seasons with the Magic, O’Neal was part of the 1996 United States basketball team in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with talented basketball players such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone and John Stockton, O’Neal contributed to the team with his accurate shooting and his excellent rebounding.
2000, 2001, 2002: Lakers win NBA Championship three consecutive times
When Phil Jackson became the Lakers head coach in 1999, Lakers fans were enthusiastic as O’Neal was playing with the talented Kobe Bryant. Bryant, O’Neal and Jackson were too much for opposing teams to handle as the Lakers would eventually win three NBA Finals.
2006: Miami Heat win NBA Championship after second season with O’Neal
After O’Neal played with the Lakers from 1996-2004, O’Neal signed with the Heat after he publically announced that he no longer wanted to play with Kobe Bryant. After two regular seasons with the Heat, O’Neal tremendously helped Dwayne Wade in the playoffs and the team won their first championship.
2010: O’Neal conducted The Boston Pops
Although Shaq was originally acquired for trying to help the Boston Celtics acquire another championship ring, he also was a great help when he demonstrated that he could be a talented conductor. On December 20, 2010, with his long arms and posture, Shaq helped deliver holiday spirit to many Bostonians as he conducted traditional holiday music.
June 1, 2011: O’Neal announces his retirement on Twitter
After being one of the most assertive basketball players and after going to the All-Star game 15 times, O’Neal announced on Twitter that he will no longer play for the NBA, according to Yahoo! Sports. Known for his funny and warm character on and off the court, Shaq will be truly missed.
Adrian Wojnarowski, “Shaq’s gone – for now”, Yahoo! Sports.
“Shaquille O’Neal made his conducting debut with the Boston Pops”, Boston Symphony Orchestra.