Shaq: An Incomplete Timeline

MIAMI — As Doc Rivers was talking to a throng of reporters before the Boston Celtics’ shootaround at AmericanAirlines Arena this morning, I turned around and saw Shaquille O’Neal walking toward the Celtics’ locker room. Except that he wasn’t walking.

I’m not sure how bad Shaq’s limp was before this series began, but I can definitely say it was very pronounced this morning.

“There’s just nothing he can do,” Rivers said. “It’s not like he’s not trying. I told our team that yesterday. He’s done everything you possibly can do to get healthy. And unfortunately for him, he just hasn’t been able to do it.”

Obviously, with the possibility of Shaq’s season and career being over, a lot needs to be said and written. Here’s are some random thoughts that come to my mind…

Dec. 9, 2010 – Philadelphia

Shaq had played and started 13 straight games for the Celtics, but when he arrived in Philly, he was dealing with a calf problem. So the Celtics decided to hold him out. Here’s what he said at the time:

“As a youngster, I never thought the day would come, where you get older … Especially for me, I was young and I just had it all going on.

“Sometimes knick-knack injuries don’t go away. But with this team and this staff, they don’t want you to rush back. I’m from the old school, so I’m like, ‘Hey, shoot it up, give me some drugs.’ But they’re like, ‘Nah.’ Because we’re focusing on 1825.”

1825 = 18 banners for the Celtics; two titles for Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce; and five titles for Shaq.

“When he was originally injured, no one even thought it was that serious,” Rivers said today. “I think I remember saying it’s not even a big deal, I think he’ll be back in four or five days. It just never healed and it still hasn’t. And now every time he plays, it gets worse. So there’s just nothing you can do about it, and we haven’t, really.”

Feb. 13, 2011 – Boston

The Celtics are hosting the Miami Heat in their third regular season meeting. During a break in the action, I leave courtside to go retrieve something in the press room. But as I head out the tunnel, I run into Shaq, who’s missing his fifth straight game after playing 20 of the previous 23.

He doesn’t have a sport jacket, so he can’t sit on the Celtics’ bench. But rather than watching on TV in the trainer’s room, he’s watching from the corner of the arena, soaking up the atmosphere and keeping a close eye on the matchup that he came to Boston for. He clearly wants to be out there.

“I just know this has been emotionally draining to him, more than you guys would know,” Rivers said this morning. “He feels awful about this, because this is why he came here, to get to the playoffs and play in the playoffs. And not being able to do that has really hurt him.”

Feb. 24, 2011

Shortly before the trade deadline, the Celtics shock the league by trading Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. There were certainly long-term elements to the trade, but the Celtics insisted that they felt the deal made them better this year.

Their confidence came in part from how well they played when Shaq was healthy. And clearly, they didn’t realize at the time that he wouldn’t be healthy again this season.

Aug. 21, 2006 – Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

I don’t think Shaq played a big role in LeBron James‘ development as a player (maybe more in regards to marketing), but when I think about his time with Dwyane Wade, I recall what Shaq told me about his teammate in an interview the summer after the Heat won the 2006 NBA championship.

“Everybody always talks about Carmelo and LeBron and they kinda leave him out. That kinda pisses him off a little bit. It really does. It pisses him off. And I remind him all the time. Because that’s what I used to do when I played against Alonzo [Mourning]. [Forget] ’em. [Forget] ’em all. You know, not personally, but on the court. [Forget] him. [Forget] Christian Laettner. [Forget] ’em all.

“I told him. I said, ‘Look man, they talk about Kobe and T-Mac and all that. That’s where I want you to be next year. When they talk about those guys, I want them to say ‘and D-Wade.’ Not ‘Kobe, T-Mac, Carmelo, LeBron and that’s it.’ Your name has got to be in those five. No. 1, 2 or 3 at worst. You gotta be up there.'”

“He came into my life at a time when I needed some guidance, in a way,” Wade said today. “I was 22 years old. He helped me grow.

“I’m always appreciative of him for that, whether we speak another day or whether we don’t. He meant a lot to my basketball career and I meant a lot to his basketball career.”

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.


  1. Shaqfu says:

    Shaq is not the greatest CENTER of all time .

    Shaq is the only CENTER THERE IS

    and that includes both the cretaceous era of the NBA to the Modern Era that is today

  2. Utopial says:

    If only this year’s finals : Lakers VS Heats…. then We can settle this argument once and for all

  3. Fulton Santos says:

    We all understand that it could be an end of an era were these guys play together. Age has already caught up with them but I hope that they would not disband the team altogether. Remember when Reggie Miller retired and the crowd just kept on shouting “one more year”. This could turn out to be the same situation, Shaq still has Diesel in the tank and seeing that he always plays by heart he should try and hit one more year.

    To see Shaq and Kevin play side-by-side would be a spectacle. This team will really show what it means to be champions. There is still a chance to turn back the clock. We have a saying in the Philippines that “If a person really wants it, he will find a way. But if he does not want anything to do with it, he will have many excuses”, and I for one am not hearing any excuses from these guys. They just take responsibility.

  4. livehealthy99 says:

    I agree Kobe should be more humble. That is a serious flaw in his character. And many times he is too arrogant.
    But isn’t LeBron like that to?

    But ignoring that and looking at numbers. Amazingly Rodman got into the hall of fame although he was totally arrogant and deprecating
    of teamates? How does that happen?

    A question: How long will it take Lebron and Wade to get five rings? Five years for Lebron will be 30! Wade will be 34, but will have six rings. I respect Wade, he is much more humble than Lebron and Kobe.
    Wade represents what bascketaball athletes should be like.

    That means Lebron and Wade will need to win a NBA finals every year. Is that possible?
    Kobe Bryant has 5 NBA championship rings which he won with the LA Lakers in the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and the 2010 seasons.
    But Wade and Lebron should be able to go over Kobes number of points, if don’t fight with each
    KOBE BRYANT 27,868
    Wilt Chamberlain 31,419
    Michael Jordan 32,292
    Karl Malone 36,928
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387

    And Kobe’s not going to retire anytime

    A question: How long will it take Lebron and Wade to get five rings? Five years for Lebron will be 30! Wade will be 34!
    That means Lebron (25yrs old) and Wade (29yrs old) will need to win a NBA finals every year. Is that possible?
    Kobe Bryant has 5 NBA championship rings which he won with the LA Lakers in the 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and the 2010 seasons.
    But Wade and Lebron should be able to go over Kobes number of points, if LeBron doesn’t start acting that he way better than Wade..
    KOBE BRYANT 27,868
    Wilt Chamberlain 31,419
    Michael Jordan 32,292
    Karl Malone 36,928
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387

    And Kobe’s not going to retire anytime

  5. twinhead says:

    How about the Big Suitcase, sense he being traveling all over the NBA, trying to get another ring.

  6. DC Express says:

    Oh Yeah, ..and MJ won all those championships by himself. For all LAKER-HATERS, It doesn’t matter if Kobe gets as much acclaim as MJ because he still has 3-5 more good years in his career, and the Lakers will be the beneficiaries. I’m a Laker fan since ’72 and will always hope the Lakers are still playing in June! WHO CARES ABOUT ALL THE BS ON THESE COMMENT SITES!

  7. leo says:

    Lol. I totally aggree with bballwiz. Lakers fan is the most annoying fans. Below are typical kobe’s fan:

    – poor grammar
    – always use capital letters in every single sentence
    – talk about how great kobe without stating any real fact
    – copy and paste the same comment all over the internet
    – bring up 81 points again, again, and again. Did i say it 3 times?
    – they always talk about how the competition in the 90’s bad just because mj dominate the league so much
    – probably lots of illegal immigrants. lol.

  8. abs says:

    Lisn you cant compare lebron and Kobe.
    one guy stayed with his team even wen they didnt make the playoffs
    while the other ran and try 2 get the easy way 2 a championship.
    look kobe one five rings. But wen kobe was gettin his last two he didnt hve shaq.
    you cant compare him 2 wade or lebron.
    it was much easier wen kobe had a guy he can go 2 . Avg around 29 points the yrs they
    were togther.
    Gasol cant even score 20points yet they manage 2 get two championship.
    Lebron go 2 guy is wade and then bosh, Bosh who’s hvin the worst yr of his career is
    still avg mre points than the mighty gasol.. Thats wt needs 2 be remeber.
    Kobe sticked 2 his team. Lebron didnt.

  9. abs says:

    Lisn you cant compare lebron and Kobe.
    one guy stayed with his team even wen they didnt make the playoffs
    while the other ran and try 2 get the easy way 2 a championship.
    look kobe one five rings. But wen kobe was gettin his last two he didnt hve shaq.
    you cant compare him 2 wade or lebron.
    it was much easier wen kobe had a guy he can go 2 . Avg around 29 points they yrs they
    were togther.
    Gasol cant even score 20points yet they manage 2 get two championship.
    Lebron go 2 guy is wade and then bosh, Bosh who’s hvin the worst yr of his career is
    still avg mre points than the mighty gasol.. Thats wt needs 2 be remeber.
    Kobe sticked 2 his team. Lebron didnt.

  10. gdog says:

    It really don’t matter what you guy’s say anyway,Lebron James is the GOAT.

    The Greatist Of All Time!!! I know you suckers don’t like it.You hate that!!!!

  11. gdog says:

    Your career is defined by what you accomplish(RINGS) i am not a Kobe fan but with all due respect MJ couldn’t carry Kobe’s jockstrap.

  12. bigmike23 says:

    Wow it boggles the mind how with a story about Shaq’s career with Celts that KB24 haters pop up, and it is always the same ppl over and over again, u guys must have posters of Kobe over ur bed so when u wake up u can get to hatin’ early, and at night cuss him out b4 u go to sleep. Anyway, Shaq luv’d u as a Laker shoulda ended ur career in the purple an gold, but u still gave us a hellova show no matter where u went u will be missed

  13. WGGW says:

    Shaq, The most Dominant player of ALL TIME. In the Top 10 All Time.

  14. lambo says:

    wow it does not matter what happens to kobe people always have to say something about lebron and all that…blah blah blah…..if kobe is better than lebron then yall shouldnt mention lebron when you talking about kobe…..and are you guys kidding me????? wear and tear from going to the finals 2 straight years???? you on dope if you think they were worn out….if anything they should be pumped up because they can make another 3 peat and get that third ring in a row but nooo people always have to make an excuse for kobe but when lebron misses a gamewinning shot you guys drop the world on him but in game one when kobe misses a gamewinning shot you guys say he has already hit enough of them…make up your mind and get off kobe’s nuts……im a lebron fan so LBJ all the way

  15. Ex-Sonic says:

    I don’t know why people gave Kobe for all the credit for all the rings after Shaq-laker era. For sure if it’s not for the arrival of Pau Gasol and of course other teamate effort, It’s impossible that the Lakers would get all these rings.

  16. bballwiz says:


    You guys are the most amazing fans I’ve ever encountered in my life. At the all-star break, you guys flooded all blogs and NBA sites and arrogantly put comments about how the Lakers will three-peat and that Kobe is the greatest ever. You guys kept trash-talking and egotistically counting other teams and players out, saying that Kobe is the best and the “Black Mamba” and the Lakers will eat every one alive come playoff time. When the Lakers are down 3-0 against the “lowly” Mavs, you guys still backed the ever-arrogant and way-over-his-head overrated Kobe up with his “words of wisdom” that they will win the series in 7. The same Kobe Bryant who never took the blame and lashes his team mates for poor play (I feel sorry for Pau, Andrew, Lamar and Ron) every time the Lakers loses and always hugs all the credit when they win (again, I feel sorry for Pau, Andrew, Lamar and Ron.)

    WHERE ARE YOU NOW HUH!?! The NBA cyberworld is lot quieter and better without you guys. And it’s the best thing that’s ever happened here! HAHAHAHA!

    Lakers fans will always reflect their “superstar” personality (in this case, Kobe): arrogant, self-centered, ball hog, sore loser, arrogant (oh, did I say that twice?), irresponsible, stubborn, conceited, bad leader who blames others and take the heat to himself, overrated, sore loser (oops, my mistake), and just plain air head. You guys are not even the best fans in the NBA (that’s Portland fans that stays loyal to the Blazers for 40 years) but you act as if the whole world bows down to the Lakers and Kobe.

    I feel sorry for Phil, though. He’s the best ever at his profession. He had the greatest player ever in Michael Jordan and the best side-kick ever in Scottie Pippien. He had the most dominant player in his era, Shaq O’neal. It’s a shame he ended his career with a pretender and overrated “star” like Kobe. But still I’m happy for him. His legacy will forever be respected and admired all over the world. AND, he doesn’t have to deal with a nut-case like Kobe anymore. Now that’s a very big sigh of relief for him, a great consolation prize of losing to the Mavs in a sweep.

    SO WHERE ARE THE LAKER FANS?!? COME ON AND MAKE SOME NOISE! Write about how Kobe and the Lakers will come back and start a new era next year with a new coach. Go on and talk about how great Kobe still is and why he’s the best player on the planet. Talk about how the “Black Mamba” will strike again next year, hungrier and feistier.



  17. Tony says:

    This post is about Shaq… If only he could have played down the stretch like he did in the begnning, there would have been a different outcome to the series, as Miami has no post presence at all. Miami will have their hands full with Chicago and definitely whoever comes out of the WEST, as the matchups favor the WEST, but they have the 2nd and 3rd best player in the league, so they will always be in it.

  18. M1978 says:

    Unfortunately Shaq’s days seem to be finally over. He was a great player, but to stay healthy as a center with all the beating, pushing he gets is very difficult. There was a time, the direction for all the teams – including the famous Chicago Bulls – was hack a Shaq. I do not wonder, that finally his body gave up. He weighs more than 130 kilos, that is very tiering for all of your limbs and organs.
    I hope he will do one more healthy season, but don’t really think that he’ll make it.

  19. Tenki says:


    Only superstar? Do you watch the same league? Now what do you call Dirk Nowitzki? Durant? Wade? Super-Mega stars? You find it hard that Kobe got owned this season. Now take away Kobe’s thing off your mouth, quit drugs and be sober while watching. You can learn more by watching alone.

  20. Tenki says:


    So shooting watermelons (or bricks, if you may) in Game 7 against the Celtics doesn’t consider to be a choke? LMFAO, maybe the last time you checked was their series against Phoenix. OK, they won. So how can you describe his performance against Dallas? A magical performance? Hell it was magical, he disappeared right before my eyes. His dominance is very evident against his teammates, not against the opposition.

    I really loved the way he said that Andrew Bynum should fall in line when it comes to offense. It only exemplified his self-centeredness. Basketball is about a total effort of the team. He is not a team player, he’s an egotistic player who ust wants to eclipse Jordan’s accomplishments, although the rest of the basketball world knows that he can’t touch number 23. Never has. Never will be.

    • Gman says:

      Lol even if he gets 7 he wont be better than MJ.

    • JS says:

      His comments about Bynum ‘falling in line’ sound to me like someone in denial of the fact that he’s entering the fading years of his career. Kobe has to come to terms with that. If Dwight Howard goes to LA, you believe there’s no way Kobe’s going to be the first option. He’ll share the same amount of offense with Howard at best.

      What frustrates me the most is how Kobe’s image has always overshadowed Dwyane Wade. Wade was very arguably the best 2 guard in the league this season. Putting aside all of both players’ past achievements and just focusing on this year’s performance, he was. He played better than Kobe for the past two seasons as well. He’s the best shot-blocking guard in the league, with more blocks this season than Lebron and even Tyson Chandler, and he had more steals than Kobe. More efficient than Kobe, better FG% than Kobe, better in nearly every stat you can measure. Yet Kobe still gets 1st defensive and 1st all NBA team this year? Explain that.

  21. Ivan says:

    The day of Shaq’s retirement will be the end of an era, because he is the last of the 50 gratest players that were selected back in 1996. It’s sad but his time is over.

  22. Ice Pogi says:

    Boston Gone FISHING!!!! Better luck next DECADE!!!!! MIAMI ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!! BRING IT ON BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. allaround baller says:

    This season (or last 2), shaq is gamble. Im pretty sure from the begining season, it wasnt doc decision. And again, perkin trade wasnt too.
    Shaq is over. Hes done a lot otherwise I kinda feel sorry for another boston veteran. They should’ve better chance. Now this is convince miami. Like it or not, miami big three want their ticket now. At their prime age

  24. DalAllDaWay says:

    Well said Tenki, Enuf said.

  25. Rob says:

    Heroin is a helluva drug

  26. Joseph says:

    I meant to say beat

  27. Joseph says:

    Go celtic they are going to be the Heat

    • Usuck says:

      better luck next season.. 🙂

    • jerson says:

      they could beat the heat f danny ainge ddn’t trase perkins for some bad decision.. I think perkins absence would have help the celts survive this playoff drama.. sad to say they lean ntoo much on their big 3 and forgot to check their so sad for boston but i am stil hoping that this team can stil win and is able to win another championship..for now, il support the heat..go heat!!!

  28. Mario Caines says:


    • Rab says:

      game 7? what are you talkin about? miami have already won the series 4-1 and will be facin the bulls or the hawks (probably the bulls).

  29. Tenki says:

    Now that is a prime example of a true leader of the team, making complimentary remarks for his teammates. Unlike Kobe, who drags his teammates down with comments like, “Ultimately, he’ll have to fall in line. Because I’m gonna shoot the ball. We all know that”, referring to Andrew Bynum. Now where is that arrogant Bryant? Getting himself washed up against Dwyane Wade?

    I like to see those arrogant Kobe fans who keeps on insisting that Kobe is a championship shy from tying Jordan’s excellence. Let m tell you something that you don’t know: back when Shaq was in LA, O’Neal was Batman, Kobe was Robin. When Shaq left LA, he was still Batman, but Kobe became The Joker, for being an impractical joke. When Dallas beat LA this post-season, Kobe became The Choker. His moniker fits him best: he chokes, we laugh. Se you this fishing season, Choker. Might as well use you as bait.

    • North says:

      Why must Kobe be mentioned?

    • LOL says:

      First smart comment i read on in a LONG time. Dirk can eat kobe anyday. Hes clutch and his defense is underated. Not to mention he is unstoppable. Kobe should retire

      • KB24 says:

        How many rings Dirk? Oh wait one lost shot to Miami.

      • err yeah... says:

        dumb argument..Adam Morrison has more rings than dwight howard. Does that make him a better rebounder, shot blocker or overall player? No.

      • Joe says:

        Except Kobe can actually play and has proven himself time and time again as a clutch player. The rings he won just validate his greatness.

        As for Dirk, he is a great player but where are the rings?

    • dan rn says:

      well you can hate kobe all day.. he may be arrogant or what, but still kobe is one of the best player to ever play the game, love him or hate him, but that’s the fact.

    • lazylays13 says:

      dude did you hear shaq when he was younger?????? he said he didnt practice hard because he was so good. he waited until the season started to have surgery because he said “i got hurt on company time, ill heal on company time”. shaq was just as arrogant as kobe. and kobe choking???? that sounds like a lebron description. last time i checked you dont lead your team to two championships and choke

      • HeatWave says:

        How did Lebron get brought into this? Oh that’s right anytime someone mentions Kobe’s arrogance they play the Lebron’s decisions card. Let me just say this. How many times has Lebron been fined for unsportsman like conduct? Kobe? Yeah big differences in attitudes and LA fan boys just don’t like to admit it.

    • Ryan says:

      Wow. Another “basketball fan” degrading the excellence of a player that is only a true superstar today. You talk about how Kobe bringing down his teammates? Dude, almost every player Kobe has played with has had their career years in a Laker uniform, and then they leave the team and where are they now? Either in free agency for years to come or not even playing anymore. I can go down the list too buddy. its okay that lakers lost this year, they didnt deserve it, but one thing i can tell you, 3 straight years to the finals is alot of wear and tear compared to the mavs that have early first round exits the previous couple years. so i dont blame the lakers for getting swept. you doubt the lakers every single season because you dont like them you dont like kobe. yet they won back to back championships. kobe is a 5 time nba champion now. and the shaq/kobe situation. when it was crunch time when it mattered most, who did they go to? they went to kobe because they know kobe could do more when it counted most. so yeah they may have ran through shaq the first 3 quarters of the game, but who held the batman role in the last when it counts most, exactly, kobe did. kobe is one of the most clutch players in the history of the sport, so your “choker” title should maybe stick to you since your hugging mj’s “juevos”.
      face it, lakers will be back next year, kobe will come back rested and better than the last 2 years. just like he stated, “i just like to shut all the mofos up that say im done”. go marry lebron so he can finally get a ring.

      haters gonna hate.

      • Ken says:

        honestly, people tend to give kobe too much credit. how you say everyone of kebe’s teammates played better because of him. remember, every post season, when comes down to the wire, it’s not mostly kobe taking the big shots. of course sometimes he does, like any superstar should, but it’s actually the support crew that makes most of the big shots and the big hustle plays, and NOT HIM. try to look back at those playoff championship seasons, watch it again, putting aside your “bromance” for kobe, and try to see if it really was him who led the team and scored when it really mattered. during the shaq-kobe era, who was the one whom the teams and coaches were really afraid of? it was SHAQ. shaq directly affected how teams would build their lineups. they all had to prepare for him. not kobe. the KOBE part of the shaq-kobe tandem could’ve been t-mac, carter, pierce or allen and the result would’ve been EXACTLY THE SAME. even if i hated the lakers then, i couldn’t deny how dominant shaq was during his prime. oh and don’t argue about shaq not able to win championships back at orlando. it’s because he was still way too young and he hasn’t met Phil Jackson (NOT KOBE) yet. so ryan, why don’t you take your suggestion and marry kobe instead so that he can finally bathe in the idea that he has paralleled jordan in greatness and just leave it at that. ’cause by the way, he is not and is never gonna be as great as jordan was.

      • HeatWave says:

        I started to read this until you said “Kobe is the only real superstar”. Seriously?

      • Jag says:

        In the Shaq-Kobe era, when they won 3 championships, who was the finals MVP ? Shaq’s 3 to Kobe’s 0.
        I rest my case 🙂

      • Gman says:

        lol you go to kobe in crunch time because shaq is a post player.

      • err yeah... says:

        you go to kobe at crunch time cos shaq couldn’t hit free throws. Who actually got lakers to the finals. Who actually got the lakers into a winning position at the 2 minutes left in 4th quarter mark. If you actually watched the games you’d know that Shaq did. Not saying kobe didnt do anything during those games but shaq was the main guy.

    • Smoke says:

      Kobe is the 6th best player in the history of the game. He is the second best player ever to play in his position after MJ. He’s top 6 ever in scoring, and won 5 rings. Show me Dirk on this list. Show me a top 10 players of all time list where Shaq is mentioned. Show me one analyst claiming Shaq is better than Duncan even. Show me LeBron making a clutch shot. Show me Wade scoring 81 or 62 points in 3 quarters. You don’t have to love him, but you can’t take away anything from Kobe and what he has achieved. He has professional analysts and almost all the NBA players backing up his case.

      • KB24 says:

        It’s stupid to try to compare people from differnet times. Einstein would probably suck at typing. Kobe is and has been the best since MJ. I agree with you smoke. I also will say Shaq was one of the best big man I have seen. I have to give it to Kareem though.