Farewell, Big Fella.
These eyes have never seen a better mix of dominating player & entertaining showman. “The Diesel” was a perfect combination of intimidation, brute force, & immovable object on the court, and the athlete fans & peers most wanted to hang out with off of it. During his best playing days, he was a man amongst boys on even the biggest of stages —Finals MVP in 2000, ‘01, & ,’02 as a Laker— and able to break an opponent down physically, mentally, & emotionally.
Shaq was that rare breed of athlete who could dismantle you in any number of ways. Literally demolish you(& the rim) with the ball in his hands? Check. Had players questioning their own abilities, because their was no way around, over, or through him? Check. Use the media to essentially clown his opponents? Check.
Shaq once said, “They don’t make them like me anymore. They don’t want to make them like that anymore”. So true. The “Big Aristotle” won’t be remembered as the best to ever play the game or maybe even the best to ever play his position, but NBA fans will always smile fondly when we recall his legacy. Aside from being remembered as a Hall of Famer & four-time world champion, that might just be what Shaquille O’Neal cares about the most.