Who doesn’t love a good soundbite from Shaquille O’Neal? Even fans who can’t stand the guy admit that he’s entertaining to listen to…. some of the time, at least. Anyway, at this stage in O’Neal’s career, and after
Shaq joined WEEI in Boston on Tuesday to talk about the start of training camp, his new teammates and surroundings, how he chose Boston to chase another ring despite having bigger offers from other squads, and other interesting topics.
You’ve settled on the Big Shamrock?
“Yes. The Big Shamrock. Yes.”
Not to get personal with money, but you’ve been making more than $20 million a year for 10 straight years. This year, you’ll make, like, $37,500. Did that change your approach?
“Not at all. I had other options where the money would have been greater. But this franchise, this team, has a tradition of winning. I’ve been one of the luckiest guys in the history of the game. I’ve had four max deals and one lifetime of play. So money wasn’t an issue. Money will never be an issue. Danny Ainge had $1 million left, which was the minimum. If I had to, to come here and play, I would have played for free. Doesn’t matter to me.”
Would you be offended if Doc told you that you’ll be most needed at the beginning of the season with Kendrick Perkins out, then again at the end, and that you can glide through the middle?
“When I first came into the league, it was all about ‘I, I, I.’ Scoring titles, a lot of points, and a lot of rebounds. Now, at the tender age of 38, it is not about ‘I.’ I have taken care of ‘I.’ I’ve really put myself in the history books. So now, it is all about ‘we.’ It’s all about the Celtics and all about the city of Boston. Doc doesn’t really have to have the conversation with me. He can just tell me what he wants me to do. Whatever he wants me to do, whatever the team wants me to do, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not here to take 30 shots, not here to dominate the ball, not here to play like I’ve been playing. I’m just here to help. At the tender age of 38, I don’t mind doing that.”