Shaquille O'Neal Must Embrace Ubuntu to Preserve His Legacy

Frances WhiteAnalyst IIAugust 7, 2010

BOSTON - MAY 13:  Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics and Shaquille O'Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers fight for the ball during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85.  NOTE TO USER: User Expressly Acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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We have seen this before in Los Angeles, when the Lakers added an older Karl Malone and Gary Payton to their roster.  Kobe Bryant wanted to put Shaquille O'Neal on notice about his grown man game.  Shaq wasn't having it and both Malone and Payton walked into the middle of two alpha-males wanting to be top dog.  

That season Malone was hampered with injuries and was in and out of the lineup.  Payton couldn't adapt to the Triangle offense and the ball would get stuck in his hands.  There was no chemistry on or off the court and the team suffered.  

Advancing to the 2004 Finals, they were beaten soundly by a more unselfish team in the Detroit Pistons.  Everyone said that Shaq was to blame for the discord and the Lakers traded him to the Miami Heat after Dwyane Wade's rookie season. 

Six years later this still seems to be the prevailing sentiment among NBA types.  He dogged it in Miami after he won the 2006 championship, claiming he was injured. Pat Riley had enough and O'Neal was once again pushed out of town to the Phoenix Suns because of his supposed "me" attitude. 

Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire couldn't co-exist with him, because his girth could not keep up with their speed, causing the offense to come to a painful halt. Nash couldn't use his patented pick and roll moves to create different passing angles for Amare'.   

He had no chance in Cleveland because it was like The Truman Show with LeBron James starring and co-starring in all venues; it was an impossible scenario.

Now that he is in Boston the circumstances are slightly different.  He never had three alpha males who have already figured it out as teammates. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have already won championships, something Malone, Payton nor James had experienced at the time.

Payton redeemed himself as part of Miami's only championship so far in 2006.

He is also coming into the house of a historic and iconic franchise, the Boston Celtics, whose 17 championships dwarf his four. Danny Ainge the General Manager has a ring as a player and a front office executive.

O'Neal is a student of the NBA game its great players and franchises.  He will not be able to bamboozle the fans of Boston who have witnessed true legacy players grace the parquet floor.   

They will not allow him to tarnish the Celtic name and at the veterans minimum Danny can quickly cut his loses with no regrets.  

His own legacy depends on him embracing ubuntu or risk being a sad relic of his former self begging a team to take him in.