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Miami Heat: Shaq's Number Should Be Retired by Heat

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2011

BOSTON, MA - MAY 07: Shaquille O'Neal #36 of the Boston Celtics warms up before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 7, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  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)
Elsa/Getty Images

We all saw the video yesterday on twitter, and tomorrow he hosts the official press conference.

For some it might've been a few years too late, and maybe next season we'll think that it was a season too early.

Either way, Shaquille O'Neal, The Big Aristotle, Diesel, or whatever nickname you want to call him, is officially retired and will no longer compete in the NBA.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Shaq play both as an outside observer and as a Miami Heat fan. When Shaq left the Heat and seemed to burn bridges and throw everyone from Chris Quinn to Dwyane Wade under the bus, I was admittedly not too fond of him.

However, outside of basketball, you can't deny that he's one of the most gregarious and fascinating superstars, not just in NBA history, but in all of sports.

Shaq's history in Miami began when Pat Riley acquired him in the summer of 2004, in exchange for Caron Butler, Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, and a 2005 draft pick that would later become Jordan Farmar. Overall you could say both teams got what they wanted out of the deal.

The Lakers were able to sedate one disgruntled superstar by trading another, then use the pieces acquired from that trade on the court (Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar) or through trades (Caron Butler to Washington for Kwame Brown, who was sent in a package to Memphis for Pau Gasol) to build around Kobe Bryant and win two championships.

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The Heat meanwhile were able to generate excitement not seen around the team before and in the process won a championship of their own.

It is partly because of this 2006 championship that Wade stayed in Miami and was able to lure LeBron and Bosh down here. Wade knew he was in an organization willing to do whatever it took to win a championship, and sold that idea to LeBron and Bosh.

Shaq also showed the league that Miami could be a relevant NBA city. Again, how do we know that the Big 3 team up if Shaq isn't here first?

For his numbers during the three and a half year run with the Heat, as well as the 2006 Championship and his overall contributions to the NBA, Shaq's number 32 should hang in the rafters at the American Airlines Arena alongside Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, and the 2006 Championship banner that he helped bring here.

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