It's a sad day in the NBA as one of it's most beloved personalities, Shaquille O'Neal, has decided to bounce that ball professionally for the last time. In honor of perhaps the greatest center to play the game, we at CraveOnline are doing a two part tribute to the big fella as way of thanks. Today, we look at his nicknames and tomorrow, we delve into his acting career. With everyone else throwing stats your way, we've got you covered on the personality end of the big fella.
5. The Big Shamrock
Shaq's last and least involved trip landed him with the Boston Celtics where he was looking for one last ring before he retired. Unfortunately, a series of injuries limited his time on the court and the Celtics were ousted by his former team, the Heat, in the second round of this years playoffs. Well loved and respected still, O'Neal just couldn't live up to expectations on the court.
The rough season would prove to be a wake-up call for O'Neal who decided enough was enough and retired from basketball.
4. The Big Cactus
Back in 2008, O'Neal was traded from the struggling Miami Heat to the Phoenix Suns so the inevitable nickname had to be the Big Cactus. In the 28 regular season games he played for Phoenix that season, Shaq averaged 12.9 points and 10.6 rebounds. He also alienated his former Heat team with derogatory comments directed towards them.
"I love playing for this coach and I love playing with these guys," O'Neal said of the Suns. "We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with [his former Heat teammates]Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a team again."
3. Shaq Fu
During the height of his popularity, you could find Shaq anywhere you turned. He was on the court, in movies and in video games. One such game was a 2D fighting game put out on the Sega Genesis back in 1994 called Shaq Fu. The storyline behind this crazy concept was that Shaq wanders into a kung fu dojo while heading to a charitable basketball game in Tokyo, Japan. After speaking with a kung fu master, he stumbles into another dimension, where he must rescue a young boy named Nezu from the evil mummy, Sett-Ra.
That's right, I said evil mummy.
While the game was a flop, it goes a long way in showing just what a personality that O'Neal has.
Look, it's a bird! No, It's a plane! Wait!!! It's Shaquille O'Neal!!!!! Always the master of self promotion, O'Neal took the moniker Superman for two reasons; his dominance on the court and his love of the iconic character. He was such a fan of the Man of Steel that he played him, sorta, in the 1997 movie Steel. The movie was based on one of the Superman offshoots that appeared after he was killed by Doomsday in the comic book.
1. The Diesel
The most popular nickname for Shaq has to be the Diesel because it sums up O'Neal perfectly. He was a big truck of a player that used his size and strength to bully bigs down low. Nobody could stop him in his prime, period. He'd throw that butt back and clear enough space for a 747 to land. Within five feet of the rim, there was no will or person that loomed larger than Shaq. Love him or hate him, and it you were fan of a team playing him, you hated him, he was the greatest to play the position in the last 29 years.
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS