Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement via Twitter yesterday.
Throughout the 1990's, 2000's, and even into this decade, Shaq was perhaps the game's most colorful personality as well as one of its' best superstars.
He was larger-than-life from the moment he stepped onto the hardwood in 1992, and even though he was a star, he still seemed like a down-to-earth guy.
With that in mind, I present to you the 20 most memorable Shaq moments.
Don't hesitate to let me know if I missed a great one.
Thanks for reading!
This video clip (which contains explicit language) essentially defined Shaq's being as a star in the NBA.
My favorite part of the 20-second memory is how the reporter absolutely shirks when Shaq drops the f-bomb, only to say "I know" when the Diesel responded with an "I don't give a crap". Although he didn't say crap.
In all honesty, how many people could've gotten away with half the shenanigans Shaq pulled?
We embraced him as the most colorful personality in the game, and this video (coupled with a few others) are one of the reasons he was so beloved. He was never afraid to speak his mind.
As Shaq's second season was about to commence, so too was his debut rap album.
Entitled Shaq Diesel, the disc made it to the #25 spot on the U.S. Billboard 200, and one of its' singles, "I Know I Got Skills", made it to #25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The C.D. sold one million copies, and earned the Big Aristotle his first platinum record.
In October of 1996, the NBA named its' 50 Greatest Players in history.
Shaquille O'Neal, at just 24 and just four seasons into his career, was the youngest member of the team by six years (Scottie Pippen was 30).
That in of itself is a huge accomplishment.
The fact that they predicted (and were correct about) Shaq's upcoming greatness is a testimony to how extraordinarily special he was.
The only reason Kazaam was memorable in the fact that it memorably sucked.
It also sealed Shaq's early legacy. Let's take a look at what he did by the time he was 24:
- Starred in a Hollywood movie
- Named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all-time
- Led a paltry team to the NBA Finals
- Released a platinum album
Uh-oh, looks like I have a lot to do in the next five years.
In this video, Shaq rattles off a plethora of "Yo Mama" jokes.
In a strange way, the two-minute, 34-second clip defines what he is as a person-- a funny and charismatic player who made his name known off the court as well as on it.
Shaq absolutely threw down a game-changing slam against the Blazers here, and I'm fairly certain that's a hefty understatement, too.
To those who didn't think Superman was versatile, you must watch this video.
In one of the most spectacular rookie seasons ever, he proceeded to lead a Magic team that won 21 games the previous year to a .500 record.
In the process he averaged 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks (the last two being career-highs).
He won the Rookie of the Year in a landslide.
This video went viral as soon as O'Neal won his fourth championship, and I remember to this day watching Sportscenter and having it be the biggest sports story in the United States.
In the rap, which contains explicit lyrics, Shaq tells Kobe to kiss his behind.
With the help of Penny Hardaway and company, Shaq helped lead the Magic to the '95 Finals, a championship bout that featured him and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Orlando got swept, sure, but Shaq gave it his all, averaging 28 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks per game.
Even though his game was slowly declining, at 37 Shaq is still at the top of his dancing game.
Here he dances with the Jabbawockeez and provides us with abundant entertainment, something he always was never shy in doing.
During the summer of 2010, Shaq and pop sensation Justin Bieber held a dance-off.
Contrary to some individual beliefs, Shaq absolutely obliterates Justin at her (yes, that was on purpose) own game.
Anyone who can embarrass Bieber is a friend of mine.
During the 1999-2000 season, Shaquille O'Neal ruled the basketball world.
Before capturing his first title, he won the Most Valuable Player award after averaging a career-high 29.7 points (a career-high) and grabbing 13.6 boards per game.
It was also the eighth of 13 seasons in a row where he averaged better than a 20-10.
After losing the first game, the Lakers rattled off four consecutive victories, capped off with three straight road victories that left the Sixers dazed and confused.
Shaq, of course, was awarded MVP of the Finals, as he averaged better than 30 points and 10 rebounds in the process.
June 12, 2002 was officially the apex of Shaquille O'Neal's career.
With a sweep of the New Jersey Nets, the Lakers had won three titles in a row, and the Diesel took home his third consecutive Finals MVP trophy.
Let's name all the other players who have done that: Michael Jordan...and that's it.
In Game 6 of the 2000 NBA Finals, Shaq put up 41 points and grabbed 12 boards en route to his first championship.
He averaged a silly 30.7 points and 15.4 rebounds per game during the postseason.
If you've come to this moment, you've obviously realized that these aren't in order. After all, nothing beats the threepeat.
Nonetheless, I placed his retirement message here because it represents the end of the career of one of the NBA's all-time greats.
Good riddance Shaq, and I hope you don't completely disappear from the basketball universe.
This list will in fact double within the next decade.
If I failed to capture your favorite moment in this slideshow, let me know and I can add it on here.