Like Sinatra, Shaq did it 'his way'


Like Sinatra, Shaq did it 'his way'

By A.Sherrod Blakely

ORLANDO, Fla. When you look at the many vignettes that form a collage of sorts to Shaquille O'Neal's illustrious NBA career, no one event can truly serve as his defining moment.

But there's one in particular that sticks out not so much for how it defined O'Neal, but rather defined how O'Neal would go about becoming one of the greatest players ever.

Early in his career, he had a shoe deal with Reebok.

They had a number of ideas for commercials.

O'Neal hated them all.

Eventually he convinced them that his idea was the way to go.

"That was the beginning of me doing it my way," O'Neal said in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Comcast SportsNet shortly after announcing his retirement on Friday from the NBA after 19 seasons.

In the commercial, O'Neal included legendary centers such as Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as well as Celtics legends Bill Walton and Bill Russell.

"The reason I put those great centers in there, was because I wanted people to look at me in that light," O'Neal said. "I knew I had big shoes to fill, but I wanted people to say, 'OK, this guy's coming in saying he's going to be with those guys, show me.' That's what I did. I went to work."

Did he ever.

In 19 NBA seasons, only four players (Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Chamberlain) amassed more points than O'Neal who scored 28,596. His 13 seasons of being a 20-point, 10-rebound player is unmatched.

"He was the most dominant big man of his era," Celtics teammate Jermaine O'Neal told "When you talk about the top five or 10 players all-time, Shaquille O'Neal has to be on that list for all that he's accomplished not only when you look at the numbers, but when you look at the championships, too."

O'Neal has won four NBA titles, taking home NBA Finals MVP honors on three such occasions.

If not for a right Achilles injury that limited him to a career-low 37 games this past season with the Celtics, O'Neal would likely be suiting up for a 20th NBA season.

While he has no plans to come out of retirement, O'Neal wouldn't completely shut the idea on the notion, either.

He says he'll "probably not" return to the NBA.

When pressed about it, he said, "I say probably not, you finish the sentence how you want to finish it."

Regardless of whether he continues his iconic lifestyle off the basketball court, the way he goes about doing it won't change.

He'll do it his way.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”