He was a savior for the Orlando Magic. The most physically dominant force basketball had seen in decades, and one half of an inside-outside tandem that couldn’t deliver multiple championships to Central Florida like his talent suggested.
He was simply next in line for the Los Angeles Lakers. A rightful successor to George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who would take his multi-faceted interests and giant personality to fame big men rarely achieve – not to mention a coveted three-peat.
He was the the biggest piece for the Miami Heat. The presence of Penny Hardaway couldn’t convince him to stay in Orlando, and Kobe Bryant drove him out of Los Angeles. Playing co-captain with Dwyane Wade, he led the Heat to its first championship in franchise history.
He was a basketball science project for the Phoenix Suns. Not only did the aging legend prove he still had ample game left in the tank, though, but also that he could thrive in a system so many deemed him completely unplayable.
He was a role player for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hardly close to what he once was, the behemoth hadn’t lost his nimble touch and proved a capable ancillary scorer for a team that desperately needed firepower to surround the game’s best young player.
He was just yet another legend for the Boston Celtics. Fellow stars of yesteryear Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce made his stay in New England a fun one, no matter how fleeting or ultimately fruitless in terms of wins and losses.
But more than anything, Shaquille O’Neal was and always will remain Shaquille O’Neal. There’s never been anyone like him, and there never will be again. And with NBA TV’s #ShaqWeek, you can relive every stop on the Big Diesel’s highly-decorated and controversial career – no matter how successful or otherwise.