The Big Mercenary. What else did you expect after "I got one more ring than Shaq," came out of former O'Neal teammate Kobe Bryant's mouth just moments after winning his 5th NBA Championship this June? He's amassed almost $300 million dollars throughout an 18-year career in this league, and that doesn't even include blockbuster endorsement deals. He's a 4x NBA Champion. He's been an NBA League MVP. He's a 3x NBA Finals MVP. A career average of 24 points and 11 rebounds a game. Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most accomplished players, a future hall of famer, that this game has ever seen. So now what?!?
Just Win Baby!
Shaq's Role Stay healthy for April, May, & June. The Boston Celtics were possibly a Kendrick Perkins injury away from winning their 2nd NBA Title in three seasons. Getting outrebounded by 13 rebounds in game 7 of the NBA Finals against the big Los Angeles Lakers, it was evident, the Celtics needed to get bigger this offseason to prepare for one more run. Enter Shaq. At 38-years old, missing 29 games last season, Shaquille O'Neal has one mission, stay healthy at all costs. The Celtics have prepared for the event that they run into the L.A. Lakers one more time, acquiring the games biggest, baddest, big man there is. A bit long in the tooth, slower down the court, Shaq can still bang and cause problems in the paint with the best of them. O'Neal should expect to play more minutes early on in the absence of Perkins, then get rest as the Celtics prepare for the postseason. The bottom line is, O'Neal's got to stay healthy as the Celtics attempt to lean on his size come playoff time next spring.
Shaq's Attitude Be humble, for the first time in your career. Even with the Young LeBron James leading the way, Shaquille O'Neal still found it hard to be humble. This time, your not playing with any pups. The way both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen deferred to Celtic captain Paul Pierce, Shaq will have to do them one better coming off the bench come mid-season as Perkins makes his comeback. Shaq has already accepted the veteran minimum to play in Boston, now he'll have to take the extra step and play behind people he may think he's better than. Fortunately, this is exactly how the Boston Celtics operate. Young stud point guard Rajon Rondo has done so, captain Paul Pierce has done so, and of course future hall of famers Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, the likes who've seen two NBA Finals in the last three seasons. With a championship ring wearing coach in Doc Rivers, and a slew of veteran champions, Shaquille O'Neal will have to be humble in his role as just that, role player.
Shaq's Focus On point, 1 goal, 1 season. Paul Pierce is 32-years old. Ray Allen is 35-years old. Kevin Garnett is 34-years old. Shaquille is 38-years old, and their other off-season acquisition Jermaine O'Neal is 31-years old. You don't keep all these veterans if you have any other goals. The Celtics laid up the regular season last year knowing what they would be able to do come playoff time, when it came they tooik advantage. To win a championship is the only goal these Celtics and head coach Doc Rivers have in mind, it's why they play this game at their age. Now Shaquille O'Neal has to be completely committed to the same thing. The Boston Celtics don't need to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, they don't need to be the second or third for that matter, on the road or at home they know what the end game is here. Shaquille wasn't hungry for a ring in Phoenix or Cleveland, for that matter in Miami, even though he won another one, in Boston, it has to be different.
Shaq's Destiny The Big Champion. You can't take the four championship trophies he has away. He was a member of the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, and Cavaliers now the Celtics. If Shaquille O'Neal caps off his career with a 5th ring, it'll be hard to deny how dominant he's been. In his prime you could put Shaq on any team in the league and they were an instant contender, now with a reduced role, that isn't exactly who he is. A 5th NBA title no matter what team he's joined would put him in the same category as Kobe and some of the other champions who is name is rarely mentioned amongst. The Big Mercenary takes aim . .
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