By Jimmy Toscano
Forget the old nicknames. Shaquille O'Neal is now "The Big AARP".
Announcing his retirement today at his home in Florida, Shaq touched upon his time in the league from Orlando to Boston and all points in-between.
With his family in attendance, including his mother and father, Shaq thanked everyone from GMs to ball boys while remaining true to his comical self along the way.
Speaking of GMs, Shaq opened his press conference by taking a fake phone call from someone offering him a chance to apply for the Knicks GM job. That was just the beginning of the jokes.
He made sure to let everyone know that by no means will he remain out of the spotlight, saying, "I do plan on entertaining you for the next 19 years, whether it's TNT, ESPN, CNN . . . whoever wants to hire me. My office opens Monday."
If that's the case, the offer will surely come flying in. Shaq has proven to be not only one of the greatest NBA players of all time, but one of the most media savvy types too.
He points to his parents for turning him into the player and person that he is today, and said that their advice to "be a leader, not a follower" really stuck with him. He hopes his six children look up to him the way he looked up to his parents.
Asked about whether or not he thought about returning to the Celtics next season, Shaq admitted that he knew he couldn't play, and didn't want to put the city of Boston through that again.
He specifically thanked Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers for being influential to his career, and pointed to Rivers' "team-first" mentality on a team with so many stars.
Of course Shaq couldn't leave without a little Dwight Howard talk, admitting that Howard was the last dominant center in the league and that, "If he doesn't win three or four championships, I'll be disappointed."