The day Shaquille O’Neal retired must be a national holiday for backboards everywhere.
In addition to putting up career averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game with the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavs and Celtics in his 19 seasons, Shaq also damaged about 12.5 backboards (unofficial) over the course of his career.
Monday is the 7-foot-1 Hall of Famer’s 45th birthday, so we thought we’d fondly remember the times Shaq brutally destroyed unsuspecting rims and backboards. Enjoy.
You just don’t see ferocity like that out of big men anymore. In fact, in 1993 the NBA introduced “Shaq-proof” backboards to stop him from tearing down the edifice.
‘’We had a new thing this year with [backboards] both coming down and being broken,’’ said Rod Thorn, chairman of the competition committee at the time. ‘’We’re going to make sure that all of the equipment is up to snuff.
‘’Whether it was Shaquille O’Neal or someone else, with the size of these guys, it was just a matter of time. He just happened to be a little bigger and stronger than most.’’
Shaq was an anomaly in the NBA -- a hulking, gigantic force with grace, skill and speed that defied his size. He was always a showman during his playing days, having just as much fun off the court as he did on it.
Shaq continues to be an integral part of the game as a TNT analyst, entertaining fans with his co-hosts while occasionally.
No matter your feelings about him, you have to admit Shaq is truly one of a kind.