NBA veteran Shaquille O’Neal has come up with a new nickname for just about every team he has joined in the NBA. He was “Shaq Diesel” in LA, the “Big Cactus” with the Phoenix Suns and the “Cleveland Steamer” with the Cavaliers last season. Now, fans are already calling him the “Big Shamrock” after reports indicate that the 38-year-old NBA legend will be joining the Boston Celtics next season.

ESPN reported Aug. 4 that O’Neal will soon be signing a deal with the Celtics for the veteran’s minimum of $2.8 million over a two-year deal.

Boston initially showed interest in the 18-season veteran back in July when reports indicated that Celtics coach Doc Rivers visited O’Neal in Orlando to discuss a possible deal. According to ESPN, Boston and the Atlanta Hawks were the two teams most interested in his services, but Shaq chose Boston because he believes they offer the best shot at him winning his fifth title.

O’Neal is far from the dominant player he once was during his prime years in the league, but at 7-feet, 1-inch and 325 pounds, he adds huge depth to the Celtics’ front court. He will join fellow big man Jermaine O’Neal, who was signed earlier this summer in purpose of filling the void of injured starter Kendrick Perkins.

Shaq recorded 12 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season for the Cavs. In the Cavs’ six-game loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals, he averaged 13.5 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes a game. O’Neal—who will be joining his sixth team since being drafted by the Orlando Magic in 1992—has totaled more than 28,000 points with nearly 13,000 rebounds throughout his career.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor