There is no doubt that Los Angeles Lakers legendary center Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest and most dominant players the NBA has ever seen. He won four championships, three in L.A., and left fans with a ton of memorable moments throughout his Hall-of-Fame career.
Recently, there has been talk about superstar players returning. O’Neal himself suggested that Kobe Bryant would return to the Lakers for one more year and another former teammate, Dwyane Wade, just announced that he would come back for one more season with the Miami Heat.
As far as Shaq himself returning, that won’t be happening. DUring an appearance on The Official Lakers Podcast, O’Neal explained he would never come out of retirement for a return to the NBA because he wants the memories of him in the league to remain the same:
“The memories that people have of me, that’s where I want my DVD to end. The lob pass from Kobe, all that. The fights that we used to have, the elbows. Shaq averaging 28 in the regular season and then raise that in the playoffs to 40. It stops there.”
That is understandable as many players in all sports can hold on for too long and potentially hurt fans perception of them. O’Neal has great moments with the Lakers, Heat and Magic, and wants those to be what fans remember most.
Of course, with stars of his nature, everyone ultimately only remembers the good times. No one ever talks about Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards, Hakeem Olajuwon with the Toronto Raptors or Patrick Ewing with the Seattle SuperSonics.
Surely if O’Neal attempted a comeback it would never overshadow his accomplishments. Nonetheless, being 46 years old the chances of a return are slim at best and that is fine as his resume is as good as anyones in NBA history.