Terrible news surrounding Boston fans: Shaquille O’Neal, in his first game after two months of court absence courtesy of an Achilles injury, immediately strained his right calf in the second quarter. He tumbled down to the floor once again.
The surging Celtics wants to rely on their aging center badly, more than ever now that Kendrick Perkins has gone off to Oklahoma City. Sadly, Father Time has officially caught on with O’Neal, and there's very little he can do about it at this point late in the season.
Not that he hasn’t outrun Father Time before. His game has long been written off since arriving in Phoenix four years ago, around the same time his numbers started significantly dropping off. He has since played for Cleveland and Boston, accepting the role of a complimentary player.
Today, he still makes a quality center, momentously scoring and rebounding in double figures. Celtics teammate Jermaine O’Neal has also declined and seems to be heading to retirement at only 32 years of age. So yes, Shaq has fought Father Time long enough.
Heck, Shaq has played in the NBA long enough. At 39, O’Neal is currently the league’s oldest active player, having played professional basketball since being drafted by the Orlando Magic during the 1992 season. Counting, this year marks his 20th in the league.
For a profession that has an average span of 10 to 12 years, Shaquille has already doubled his. All that and he has gone through numerous harms in his career: nagging injuries in 1996, toe surgery in 2002, a hurt right ankle in 2005, and a thumb injury in 2010, just to name a few.
So is it time for O’Neal to retire? With him making a last run at the title with Boston, we say he’ll hang it up according to schedule, which is right around after his contract expires at the end of the 2012 season.
Dude can easily retire and stay famous with his long list of raket: actor, police officer, MMA fighter. Shaq however remains in the league not to prove he can still play – Jordan, who retired with six rings, can still play – he aspires to stay because he longs for a final championship.
But more than the Heat or the Spurs, he has to learn how to fight off Father Time. And that he can still do, even with an undersized amount of time left.
WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO