Underneath the 17 championship banners and the retired jersey numbers of Celtic greats Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Larry Bird and Bill Russell stood the 7-foot-1, 325 lbs. Shaquille O’neal , the newest Celtic player who recently signed a two year deal worth $3 million.
Looking at the rafters filled with championship history, Shaquille wants to be part of that tradition, the Celtic pride… He wants that number 18 banner raise on the rafters and maybe 2 years from now he could retire his number right beside Bill Russell’s (the greatest Celtic center in history).
38 years old with knee injuries throughout his 18 year career the once dominating force in the paint has slowly diminished. The quickness isn’t there anymore but Shaq can still command double-team sometimes, he still can dunk the ball with full strength and his long and wide wingspan can still give driving players second thoughts. The Celtics wants to add another O’neal into their roster after signing Jermaine O’neal a month before.
They don’t mind signing Shaq for a 2 year deal because they know 2 years from now they will be rebuilding. The Celtics have their big three Ray Allen (35), Kevin Garnett (34) and Paul Pierce (32) at 30 years old and up adding Michael Finley (37), Jermaine O’neal (31), Shaquille O’neal (38) and Brian Scalabrine (32) into the mix instantly making them the oldest team in the league.
They are all riding on the same boat and going into the same direction. They are not getting younger and so they are setting up short term goals, Win championships now, rebuilding later.
Winning championships maybe easier said than done with Miami building up a strong and young team and the Lakers beefing up their roster by signing defensive players.
Shaq won’t be running this time. He won’t be on a run and gun offense with the Suns or the fast paced plays with the Cavs. He will be playing on a system that plays half court offense with a lot of pick and roll plays. But everything still points on how Shaq wants it and how he embraces his role. There would be some significant minutes lost and there would be nights he will be staying in the bench. He will still be the man in the middle but it’s not his team anymore there is no room for egocentricity in this team if he wants to earn championships he has to learn to work as a team.
There are no certainties about winning championships, no guarantees… Goals are not always meant to be reached but somehow it serves as an inspiration to aim for. Winning is not just about trophies or awards it’s just how you play the game.
Wear it with pride Shaq… wear it with pride.