Shaq retires after 19 seasons

Shaquille O’Neal called it quits today after winning four NBA championships, including three with the Lakers to start the 2000s, during a Hall of Fame-caliber career. He has stopped playing basketball, but apparently he hasn’t stopped being playful. He said he would have a press conference at his home on Friday to talk about his career.

Lakers owner Jerry Buss said: “Shaq had a long and amazing career, with a huge impact both on and off the court. His contributions were significant to the entire NBA, but we specifically appreciate what he did with and what he meant to the Lakers during his eight years with us. We have three championships that we wouldn’t have won without him, and we will forever be grateful for his significant contributions to those teams.”

NBA commissioner David Stern said: “For 19 seasons, Shaquille O’Neal was literally and figuratively an NBA giant. On behalf of the NBA, its teams and his millions of fans around the world, I want to thank Shaq for everything he has meant to the league and to the sport of basketball, both on and off the court. We wish him and his family all the best.”

Former NBA standout and current TNT commentator Charles Barkley said of O’Neal’s legacy: “You got Wilt (Chamberlain), Bill Russell, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and then I think you have Shaquille O’Neal after that.”

Former Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning said: “Shaq was a walking comic relief. There was never a dull moment. He was bigger than life for that position (center). He’s got to be in the top five (all-time) … because of the amount of championships he won.”

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