Boston Celtics

Shaquille O'Neal: Will He Make a Favre-like Comeback?

PHOENIX - FEBRUARY 15:  Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Western Conference smiles during the first half of 58th NBA All-Star Game, part of 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend at US Airways Center on February 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
J FCorrespondent IJune 2, 2011

According to the extremely credible ESPN.com, the former Magic/Lakers/Heat/Suns/Cavs/Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal has declared that he will no longer be playing professional basketball.

Like another recent retiree and surefire fellow future Hall of Famer, Shaq claimed he will miss the competition and almost everything about the sport that became his job for 19 years.

So far, Shaquille has spared the media the waterworks that Brett Favre turned on when he "retired" from the Packers, but while his retirement may not turn into a saga like No. 4's, it's sure to be a main topic for months.

There may be some speculation as to whether either of these two superstars, particularly Favre, will follow through with calling it quits when the looming lockouts in both of their leagues are finally settled. However, both Brett and Shaquille suffered their fair share of injuries in their final seasons and would be wise to remain in retirement.

It may be hard to correctly compare the two considering neither could even come close to playing the other's position, but there are some striking similarities between the stars.

Surprisingly, Favre was still playing at a much higher level and was more effective as his playing days dwindled down despite the fact that the NFL is much more physically demanding than the NBA. The gunslinger even played one more season than The Diesel.

Will Mr. O'Neal be as indecisive as No. 4 when he realizes that he will never step on the hardwood again?

Unlike Favre, he can no longer provide an ounce of help for any team even if he could keep his 325 lb. frame from injury and he knows it. Shaq will walk away without tarnishing his legacy and he will never attempt a comeback.

O'Neal did have somewhat of a falling out with the Lakers and with a few of his other teams, but they were nothing compared to Favre's fiasco in Green Bay.

Both players had their flaws, but no one is perfect. With Shaq it was his confounding inability to shoot free throws consistently and with Brett it was his risky decision making that sometimes resulted in costly interceptions.

However, all that they accomplished in their careers drowns out any talk of faults. Both were spectacular players who each made an enormous impact on the sporting world and they will never be forgotten. For years they gifted the fans of their franchises with years of exciting play and most importantly, championships.

Shaq dominated the NBA in his prime, winning four titles, three Finals MVPs and one league MVP. Favre was the NFL's most valuable player for three seasons, but only managed to win the big game once. Although, in my opinion, Favre's 11 Pro Bowl selections equal out to Shaq's 15 All-Star games.

I do have to mention that Shaq's acting ability crushes whatever Favre was trying to do in those hilarious Wrangler commercials, but I won't go any further.

The debate could go on for days, but I believe both men were the faces of their respective leagues throughout the core of their careers and thus should be considered as equals.

No matter how you look at it, Shaquille O'Neal and Brett Favre will finish among the best of all time at the positions they played and their historic franchises will retire their numbers to honor all the amazing memories.

 

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