Thursday , Sep , 11 , 2008 Oly Sandor

The Big Retirement: Debating Shaquille O’Neal’s Legacy?

So his prolonged farewell tour begins and ends in two seasons. ‘The Big Diesel’ is obviously hoping for a never-ending, feel-good send off before hitting South Florida for daily games of shuffleboard with other seniors at the retirement community. When O’Neal does leave his legacy will be mixed because fans perceive him in different ways …

The Big Retirement: Debating Shaquille O'Neal's Legacy?

Get out your sharpie. Start marking the days on your calendar. Today, Shaquille O’Neal officially announced his retirement –in June of 2010, mind you.

"My basketball career will be over in 735 days," O’Neal told News 13 television in Orlando, Fla. "And being an educated man, I’ve always had things to fall back on. " (ESPN news services)

So his prolonged farewell tour begins and ends in two seasons. ‘The Big Diesel’ is obviously hoping for a never-ending, feel-good send off before hitting South Florida for daily games of shuffleboard with other seniors at the retirement community.

When O’Neal does leave his legacy will be mixed because fans perceive him in different ways. Some feel he’s an all-time great with a lovable personality. However, purists believe he failed to realize his full potential. Others find him obnoxious and fake.

As always, HoopsVibe wants readers to debate Shaq’s legacy? Read each argument and hit us with thoughts in the comment box below.

Why Shaq’s an all-time great …

During his Laker days, the big mammoth was the NBA’s most dominant player. His poor free throws didn’t matter. His marginal conditioning didn’t matter. And his beef with Kobe Bryant didn’t matter, either.

No team could guard him one-on-one. Double-teams and triple-teams were also pointless. Shaq would go through extra defenders or unselfishly kick the rock to open teammates.

End result: three straight NBA Titles. Plus video ‘The Mad Dog’ will never live down. Ever.

Why Shaq’s an underachiever …

Sure, O’Neal was great. But how great would he have been with conditioning, a dedicated attitude, and some practice at-the-line?

Purists claim believe he easily could’ve been the greatest ever. Instead, he rapped (okay, sort of), acted (again, he sort of did his thing in Kazaam), and refused to rehab injuries during the off-season.

Instead of settling for four NBA Titles, this camp believes he should’ve won six or seven. They see O’Neal’s career as wasted potential.

Why Shaq is public enemy number one …

This group focuses on his missteps. They blame him for breaking up the Lakers and fuelling the flames with Kobe. This summer, as we reported before, their case received a boost with …

(You know the chorus … Tell me how my a** tastes … everybody, sing along.)

Of course, the Atlanta Constitution Journal also reported …

NBA star Shaquille O’Neal will have a little longer to wait before answering allegations that he stalked an Atlanta woman.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Karen Woodson has granted a request for a continuance to Sept. 16 before hearing Alexis Miller’s request for a permanent restraining order against the 7-foot-1, 325-pound center. Both parties had been slated for mandatory court appearance on Thursday morning.

O’Neal is also accused of threatening Miller via e-mail and making harassing calls, breathing heavily into the phone, after she broke off a relationship with him in July.

The stalker headlines were a public relations nightmare, especailly since Shaq and his wife were in the process of reconciling.

How will you remember Shaq’s legacy? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of gala us guy.