By Matt Noonan
It’s finally set in, but seriously, no Shaquille O’Neal in 2011, are you serious?
That’s right, Shaq’s days are numbered, toast and yes, he won’t be playing for any NBA team the next few years. Instead, he’ll be sitting back, relaxing, possibly pursuing a Masters and maybe, shooting the sequel to Kazaam?
Although, while the NBA will indeed miss O’Neal, fans shouldn’t worry too much because the athletic celebrity will continue to make noise, I promise.
He’s been in movies, mentioned in songs, hosted Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, as well as been spotted at a variety of Hollywood parties and events.
Remember when he was a police officer in Miami?
How about when he joined the Phoenix Suns and ESPN did a spoof on him and cactuses?
Remember when he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers and promised to “win a ring for the King” (LeBron James)? Yep, that didn’t happen, luckily.
Shaq’s presence on and off the court is what makes the gentle giant so loveable and enjoyable. Yet, how many athletes or celebrities can be compared to Shaquille O’Neal? Seriously, who are other athletes that can be measured up to Shaq’s status?
The first one that comes to mind is Peyton Manning. Who didn’t enjoy Manning’s various Saturday Night Live montages? Didn’t you like watching him play football with the young kids of New York or attempting to hotwire/breaking into a car? What about his hysterical Direct-TV commercials, aren’t those laugh out loud funny?
Terrell Owens is another athletic celebrity that many Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers fans despise, but have enjoyed witnessing outside of the NFL. Owens is most remembered for the Monday Night Football clip, where he is seen with a cast member from Desperate Housewives, who dropped her towel and flailed into his arms naked. He has also taken part in celebrity basketball games, as well as appeared on the show, Pro’s vs. Joe’s and much more.
Deion Sanders, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky have all embraced the celebrity life in various ways, but overall, they’re not Shaq.
Shaq is unique and cannot be replicated or cloned. He’s someone very special to the sports world and certainly he’ll be missed.
O’Neal walks away with four NBA championships, three Finals MVP’s, as well as other awards and unfortunately, he didn’t help the Boston Celtics capture Banner 18, but that doesn’t matter because he’ll always be loved.