Shaquille O’Neal: A Tribute to the Most Celebrated Center of Our Generation

He is perhaps the most unique player of all time.

He is perhaps the most celebrated center of all time.

He is perhaps the worst actor of all time.

He is Shaquille O'Neal.

After 19 seasons in the association, the big fella has decided to call it quits.

"We did it. Nineteen years baby," he said via his Twitter video message. "I want to thank you very much, that's why I'm telling you first: I'm about to retire. Love you, talk to you soon."

It all began when the Diesel was selected with the first pick of the 1992 draft, around the same time "Baby Got Back," Sir Mix-a-lot's biggest hit, was the biggest song in America.

He didn't disappoint his first season, averaging better than 23 points, 13 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.

Let's see anyone try to top those numbers soon.

He brought the Orlando Magic to a place they had never been before—the NBA Finals. And even though they lost, so continued the legend that was Shaq.

The 7'1" O'Neal was so good that he was named one of basketball's 50 greatest players ever four years into his career.

Then, in the summer of '96, just as I was entering my second year of preschool, Shaquille O'Neal was sent packing to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would team up with an afro-sporting teenager, Kobe Bryant, to win three titles in a row to kick off the millennium.

His first title-winning year with the Lakeshow, he was awarded MVP. In all three NBA Finals, he was named MVP.

And the stats. Do I even need to go into his incredible numbers?

Shaq averaged at least a 20-10 and shot better than 55 percent for the first 13 seasons of his career. Now, that is an astounding statistic.

I think we're seeing a trend here—Shaquille O'Neal was a valuable player, a center who used his weight to bully the crap out of his opponents, to seemingly rebound at will and score each ...

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