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Shaq Retires, Leaving Behind Impressive Career

With the retirement of Shaquille O'Neal, the NBA has lost one of its all-time greats. A player as prolific throughout the course of his career as he was dominant in his prime, O'Neal will forever be remembered as one of the best big men in the history of the game.

The first overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft, O'Neal made his presence felt from the very beginning, receiving Rookie of the Year honors and starting on the All-Star team. Along with Penny Hardaway, O'Neal would lead the Magic to the franchise's first ever playoff appearance one year later, and then all the way to the Finals in 1995.

It was in Los Angeles, teamed with rising superstar Kobe Bryant that O'Neal would reach his greatest heights. From 1999-2002, O'Neal averaged 28.6 points and 12.4 rebounds per game en route to three straight NBA championships before tensions with Bryant forced him out of Los Angeles. Playing with another rising superstar in Dwyane Wade, O'Neal would secure his fourth championship with the 2005-2006 Miami Heat.

A veteran of 19 years, Shaquille O'Neal finishes his career amongst the leaders in numerous statistical categories. His 28,596 career points and 13,099 career rebounds are good for fifth and twelfth place all-time respectively, while he ranks seventh in blocks with 2,732. O'Neal twice led the league in scoring (not including the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season), and is second in field goal percentage at 58.2%, leading the league a record ten times.

Of course, there's no shortage of personal honors held by O'Neal either. Having averaged 29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, Shaquille O'Neal was voted the NBA MVP after the 1999-200 season. A 15-time all-star, O'Neal trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in that category, and is tied with Magic Johnson and Tim Duncan with three NBA Finals MVP awards, second only to Michael Jordan's six. O'Neal appeared on 14 All-NBA teams, eight All-NBA first teams, and two All-Defensive second teams.