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Shaq, Thanks Man! You Were Magic in a Bottle

When NBA basketball great Shaquelle O’Neal tweeted and video chatted about his retirement Wednesday, it ended a 19-year career of one total character in a sport that is in sure need of some personality.

Movie star (Kazaam), dancer, rapper, future police officer are all roles that Shaquelle O’Neal embodied in his career.

And oh, what a career.

He is the fifth all-time leading scorer with 28,596 career points behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

He had four World Championships: three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.

His dunks were monsterish and his personality even bigger. 

Shaq dunk

His feuds with Kobe Bryant were legendary, but any allegations of wrong doing in the Bryant rape case were just that, a legend. Shaqkobe_400

O’Neal played with six teams: The Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Pheonix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and finally the Boston Celtics.

Even late in his career, you thought he could team with Steve Nash, LeBron James or Paul Pierce to bring home one last championship.

But when you add up the ledger of Shaq demands and feuds, he ends up on the side of good.

In a story in 2005, O’Neal helped save a man from an alleged “hate” crime, according to a Miami newspaper account:

Nov. 3, 2005

O'Neal was walking in the 300 block of Washington Avenue at about 3 a.m. Sept. 11, when he said he saw two men call a third man a "faggot" and hit him with a beer bottle.

Shaq says the men jumped into a silver Honda and drove toward Palm Island. The victim made several calls to police, but when O'Neal called an off-duty police officer and gave a description of the vehicle and its location, that officer was able to stop the car.

After questioning, police arrested 18-year-old Michael Gonzalez.

Thursday, police said they have now also arrested Frank Ortiz, 20, in connection with the alleged assault.

Gonzalez and Ortiz are charged with aggravated assault. There was no word Thursday as to whether hate crime charges would be filed.

The man who was allegedly attacked was not seriously injured.

Shortly after that time, O’Neal said he wanted to be a police officer when he retired.

In the movie, “Kazaam,” O’Neal, playing a genie, helps a young boy escape attackers.

O’Neal won four championships, one Most Valuable Player and made 15 all-star teams. Shaq dunk 2

For his career, O'Neal averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.

From his rookie year in 1992 to the end of his peak in 2005, O'Neal averaged 26.7 points and 12 rebounds per game. His playoff numbers are staggering: 24.3 points and 11.6 rebounds per game on 56.3 percent shooting.

Thanks, Shaq, we will miss you. Shaq-001


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