2010 NBA Free Agency: Shaquille O’Neal Should Sign With The L.A. Lakers

Five or six years ago, that headline would have made less sense than two (by all accounts sane) parents allowing their 16-year old daughter to circumnavigate the globe by her lonesome.

Then again, five or six years ago Shaquille O'Neal was still posting double-doubles with regularity, playing thirty-plus minutes per game, and putting his fingerprints all over the postseason.

Today, the Big Aristotle is 38-years old and well on his way to becoming the Big Antique.

O'Neal is coming off a campaign in which he averaged a career-low in points (12), rebounds (6.7), blocks (1.2) and minutes (23.4). His preseason pledge to bring the king a ring—or whatever his catchy rhyme entailed—proved that, at this point, Shaq is better off running for political office than running his preposterous mouth.

If O'Neal retired right now, the question that would hover over his hellacious NBA career would not necessarily be: "Where does Shaq rank among the greatest big men of all-time?"

Rather, we should be wondering: "Why didn't he win more than four titles while playing with the likes of Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash and LeBron James during his 18-year tenure?"

Moreover, how can Shaq be considered one of the greatest big men of all-time when he may not even be the greatest big man of his generation?

After all, Tim Duncan has the same number of titles and Finals MVP awards, plus one more regular-season MVP and All-NBA First-Team selection. To add an epic oil spill to a struggling economy, the Big Fundamental has been voted to the All-NBA Defensive First Team eight times, while the Big Fella has been included on that team not once.

So what will separate the original NBA Superman from the Batmans, Silver Surfers and  Mandrake the Magicians on planet Pro Basketball?

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