Fault Danny Ainge for banking too much on Shaq's old wheels, but don't fault the big guy. It sure seems like he did his best to get back on the court and help.
In the final weeks of the the playoffs, O'Neal, over the objections of team physician Brian McKeon, had "more than five" cortisone shots in his Achilles in an attempt to play against the Heat. "Doc (McKeon) kept telling me, 'No, no,' but I wanted to play so badly," O'Neal said. "My feeling was, 'If it ruptures, it ruptures.' The Celtics were so good to me I wanted to do everything I could to get back on the court for them."
Talking about making the decision to announce his retirement now, Shaq had this to say.
"I didn't want to let people down two years in a row. I didn't want to hold Boston hostage again.
"I'm letting everybody know now so Danny (Ainge) and the organization can try to get younger talent. I would love to come back, but they say once the Achilles is damaged it's never the same. I don't want to take that chance."
Sounds like the anti-Brett-Favre if you ask me.
Of course, this leaves open the possibility that he could rest up and give it a go sometime in the last month of next season, but I think the odds are better that O'Neal closes the book on his playing days and finally focuses all his profound entertainment talent and energy into developing his next career doing whatever it is that Shaq does in the entertainment business. This could really be fun to watch.