Shaq announces retirement in online video

191544.jpg

Shaq announces retirement in online video

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

Shaquille O'Neal was among the first professional athletes to utilize social media as a means of connecting with his enormous fan base.

So it was only fitting that the 19-year veteran would announce his retirement - to his fans - utilizing a video on Tout.com.

"We did it," O'Neal said in the video which he also linked to via Twitter. "Nineteen years, baby. I thank you very much. That's why I'm telling you first. I'm about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon."

O'Neal was hoping to play a 20th season, but the right Achilles injury that limited him to a career-low 37 games this past season, proved to be too difficult for him to recover from enough to help the C's next season.

Speaking with Jackie MacMullan at ESPNBoston.com, Shaq said, "I really, really thought about coming back, but this Achilles is very damaged and if I had it done the recovery would be so long we'd have same outcome as this last year -- everyone sitting around and waiting for me.

"I didn't want to let people down two years in a row. I didn't want to hold Boston hostage again.

"I'm letting everybody know now so Danny (Ainge) and the organization can try to get younger talent. I would love to come back, but they say once the Achilles is damaged it's never the same. I don't want to take that chance."

The news of his retirement did not catch most off guard.

Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations, has said earlier that he anticipated O'Neal not returning next season.

However, Ainge declined to comment Wednesday afternoon because he had not yet heard from O'Neal directly that he would in fact be retiring.

In addition to playing just 37 games this past season, O'Neal was limited to just 12 minutes - total - in the playoffs.

Even with all the physical issues O'Neal dealt with this past season, that won't take away from his legacy.

"He's the most dominant player I've played with or against, hands down," said Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal, who like Shaquille, was limited this past season due to a variety of injuries.

Drafted by the Orlando Magic with the No. 1 overall pick in 1992, O'Neal came into the league with larger-than-life expectations.

He didn't disappoint, averaging 23.4 points,13.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game in route to winning the league's rookie of the Year award.

From there, his dominance - much like his stature globally - continued to grow.

Unable to win a championship in Orlando, O'Neal signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 and went on to win three titles with the Lakers. He won a fourth title in 2006 with the Miami Heat.

In addition, O'Neal was a 15-time all-star, a three-time NBA Finals MVP and league MVP in 2000.

His 28,596 career points rank fifth all-time in NBA history while his 2,732 career blocked shots, ranks 7th all-time.

And while some might focus on the way the 39-year-old's career ended, players like Jermaine O'Neal who played with and against him, have a different take on the matter.

"He didn't go out the way he would have liked, but he's got nothing to be ashamed of," J. O'Neal told CSNNE.com. "He's an icon that will never be forgotten."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

Tyronn Lue says Celtics harder to defend than Warriors: 'They're running all kinds of s---'

The Golden State Warriors are the least of Tyronn Lue's worries, Cleveland Cavaliers coach explained Tuesday.

Even though Lue and the Cavs are up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, he is apparently overwhelmed with the Boston Celtics to the point where he isn't even thinking about Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the 67-win Warriors.

"We're just focused on Boston," Lue said of the Warriors following the Cavs' Game 4 win, via ESPN.com. "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing."

No, seriously.

"Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---," Lue said of Boston coach Brad Stevens' schemes. "I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad's got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough."

Without Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics finished Game 4 with four players who had 15 points or more. They also had six players who scored double digits in Boston's Game 3 win. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder and Al Horford have made heavy offensive contributions. And they not just scoring. The Celtics are working hard off the ball by setting screens and cutting to the hoop to pressure the Cavaliers defense.

The Celtics may not have the Warriors' star power -- but Stevens and Boston are still managing to leave Lue in a state of clear befuddlement after a win.

LeBron James praised Stevens more directly when discussing how the Celtics "run different things" after losing Thomas to injury.

"So they had to kind of reshape, and that’s the beauty of having Brad Stevens as your coach," James told reporters. "You’re able to reshape what you do offensively and still be in a good rhythm. It’s been challenging for us to kind of — plays out of time-out, kind of been killing us on ATOs and keeping us off balance, but in the second half we kind of got a little bit of rhythm, and think we’ll be better in Game 5."