Sunday , Feb , 03 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Why NBA Shouldn’t Name Shaquille O’Neal Honorary All-Star?

O’Neal is also special, but he’s not retiring at season’s end. He won’t leave two years and 40 million dollars on the table. Most importantly, he’s too proud to quit when Miami is such a train-wreck. Clearly, O’Neal isn’t calling it a career, so why should we call it for him by honoring his legacy ? …

Why NBA Shouldn't Name Shaquille O'Neal Honorary All-Star?The Associated Press reports on Pat Riley and Shaquille O’Neal discussing  whether the NBA should name the center a special reserve to the All-Star game:

Riley: ”I really think the 12 most deserving players should get it. I do. The most deserving should get it and I think the commissioner should always have the right, for somebody who has done so much for the league, for whatever reason, to add a 13th guy to come and be a part of the whole thing.”

O’Neal: “I appreciate my coach sticking up for me, but I don’t want to be handed anything. I’m having my troubles, and it wouldn’t be fair to my teammates for me to try to get ready to play in the All-Star game if I did get in.”

My Quick Take: I love when the NBA honours retiring greats at All-Star games. In 1991, they sent Magic Johnson off in style. A few years back, Michael Jordan’s final mid-season classic was epic.

Johnson and Jordan’s circumstances were special. Johnson was forced into retirement due to contracting HIV, while Jordan was on the final leg of his forgettable executive/coach run with Washington.

For both players it felt like the end of their storied careers-even though Johnson went Rocky on us and cameback years later.

O’Neal is also special, but he’s not retiring at season’s end. He won’t leave two years and 40 million dollars on the table. Most importantly, he’s too proud to quit when Miami is such a train-wreck.

Clearly, O’Neal isn’t calling it a career, so why should we call it for him by honoring his legacy?

While the center has been a great ambassador, the suits at NBA head office should ignore Riley’s suggestion and let O’Neal earn his next All-Star selection. Like the former MVP said, he doesn’t want to be “handed anything“.

Should the NBA name O’Neal as the east’s 13th All-Star? Get at us in the comment box below or hit us up in our fan forum. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA blog.