Today was a great summer off season day. The biggest story was Shaq's press conference, which was pretty cool. He brought Doc Rivers up to the podium with him, and predictably said all the right things (as he has been doing since he officially signed). Some quick quotes:
*Note: all quotes transcribed from YouTube video linked at end of article
Shaq, when asked if he still has a hunger for the game:
Do I have the same hunger? Yes. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here. I don't like wasting peoples' time, I don't like wasting my time. I've missed over 200 games in my career so that means I owe myself and I owe everybody two to three years left.
I think Doc will see and the people will see that I still have hunger and still can play and still trying to win. At the end of the day when I close my book its all about winning, nothing else.
When asked (I think, it is a little hard to hear on the video) about how Boston matches up with LeBron & Miami:
I don't say anything to that. Its going to be a long season, we know what we have to do, and we know we have a lot of pieces. We match up pretty good with anybody. You know, we have four great big men, and when 'Big Perk' comes back there's not going to be too many people that can deal with our front line...
Last year you know everybody was talking about other teams nobody ever really mentioned Boston; I think that's the way we like it around here.
Click on the jump to see Shaq's opinion on his new nickname, why he picked #36, a bunch of other stuff, and the actual youtube vids
Shaq, on his new nickname:
So far I like 'The Big Shamrock', but I might go 'The Big Green Mile' too.
Why he picked #36:
Actually it was kind of a..simple way I figured it out. I've always been in the 30's and this is the sixth team I've been with. 36.
On famous big men:
One of the first names I heard growing up in northern New Jersey, my father, took me to the park. He's like 'You gotta be a shot blocker like..Bill Russell, you gotta be dominant like Wilt Chamberlain, you gotta be a scorer like Kareem Abdul Jabbar. This is when I was like five, six, years old my father used to scream these names at me. I'm lookin' at him like 'who the (heck) are those people?'
But, you know, as I got older, and understood the game, and I learned the history of the game, its rich in tradition. You know, Mister Russell was one of the first legends to reach out to me and have a certain conversation that let me know what I needed to do to get to that next level. And um, I always wanted to thank the great Mister Russell. The greatest big man ever.
On his perceived (from the Cavs series) friction with Kendrick Perkins:
You know Perkins is a very tough defender, probably one of the best big man defenders in the league. And, it was only on the court battles slash marketing. You know, he's a guy who's not going to back down, I'm a guy who's not going to back down, and if anything I think it was good for TV. But now, being on the same team, I will give him all the knowledge I have accumulated over the past 18 years. Have we had battles? Of course we have. Have we had good battles, and bad battles? Yes we have. But that's all over now, because we're teammates.
Doc on the Celtics' trend of bringing in older, successful, experienced players, and how the chemistry will work:
If you look at the history of the Celtics, the have a history of bringing in..legends who are at the end of their career but still have enough to give to help teams win. Bill Walton comes to mind, he's the first on my list.
Its is a forumla that has worked and it is a formula that I hope continues to work...
The bottom line is, with any of these team, our team, around the league, when you get a collection of individuals you gotta make them into a team. And every time you add a new piece you almost have to restart and try to get your team back together. That's what we're going to have to do. We don't have a lot of time to do that.
Shaq again, on why/how he joined the Celtics:
Honesty. You know I've been around the league for a long time. Met a lot of shysters. We (O'Neal and Rivers) had a conversation, (he) said 'Shaq, we want you, we'd like to have you here, but we don't have a whole lot to give.' And I said 'Doc I'm not really concerned with all that. I'm just concerned with winning and being with a bunch of guys who like to play.'
O'Neal was also sure to thank Kevin Garnett for showing support and flying back for the press conference from China.
Part one of the press conference: Link
Part two of the press conference: Link
Also, in other news, Luke Harangody signs with the team:
Via Chris Forsberg, ESPN:
On the same day the Celtics introduced O'Neal to the Boston media, Harangody, the Celtics' second-round draft choice (52nd overall) this year, quietly inked a guaranteed two-year deal valued at $1.3 million.
"Seeing Shaq today, I was kinda in awe a little bit -- starstruck -- but at the same time, I gotta come in the gym everyday," said Harangody. "We’re teammates now. There’s future Hall of Fame players, but you still gotta come in and give the same effort, no matter who’s in on the floor."
One last note, if you click on the link to part 2 of the Shaq presser, a funny thing happens around 9 mins and 50 seconds. The organizer of the press conference tells everyone that Luke Harangody will be available for questions once Shaq gets off the stage, and Shaq clearly leans over and asks Doc Rivers: "Who?"