'The Big AARP': Shaq calls it quits


'The Big AARP': Shaq calls it quits

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."

Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls


Celtics-Bulls preview: C's quickly turn page to new-look Bulls

BOSTON – Change is an inevitable when it comes to NBA rosters.

Just as the Boston Celtics significantly altered the outlook many had for them this season by signing Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, they face a Chicago Bulls team tonight that has also undergone significant change.

The Bulls traded away one favorite son (Derrick Rose) and went about adding another in Dwyane Wade.

In addition to Wade, Chicago also signed former Celtic All-Star Rajon Rondo to join a team headlined by All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

As easy as it could have been to worry about the struggles they had in disposing of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Celtics knew they had to immediately turn the page and shift their focus towards a Chicago Bulls team that’s looking to start its season with a quality win over the Celtics.

“They’re a good team. They have great players over there,” said Jae Crowder. “They’re trying to figure it out. They’re going to be very excited to play of course. We have to take care of business, play the way we want to play and impose our will even more.”

One of the keys to knocking off the Bulls will be to get better play from their second unit.

Boston’s backups were outscored 58-40 but more significant than that was their inability to hold off the late-charging Nets which forced head coach Brad Stevens to bring his starters back on to the floor with about two minutes to play.

Among the reasons contributing to the bench’s ineffective play on Wednesday was the fact that Marcus Smart (left ankle sprain) was out.

Remember, Smart has been with the second unit for all of training camp minus the second half of their 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks.

Crowder believes not having Smart, who will be out for another week or so, was indeed a factor in the second unit’s struggles.

“They trying to figure it out on the fly,” Crowder said. “With a few days of practice and probably one tough day of practice without him. It’s tough but they’re figuring it out. There’s no other way to figure it out but in a game. They’ll figure it out as soon as possible.”