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Shaquille O'Neal Formally Announces Retirement At Home In Florida

Shaquille O'Neal, who announced his retirement from the National Basketball Association after 19 seasons via Twitter on Wednesday, formally announced his decision on Friday afternoon at his home in Florida.

O'Neal hosted the press conference inside his home gymnasium, taking the time to say farewell to his teams, coaches, fans and the media.

"After 19 years, I am announcing my retirement from professional basketball," O'Neal said. "I never thought this day would come. Father time has finally caught up with Shaquille O'Neal."

O'Neal was introduced by his former coach at LSU, Dale Brown, who had nothing but good things to say about O'Neal, his family and his dedication as a payer, parent and individual.

Of course, when you're dealing with Shaq, you know the event wasn't going to be entirely serious. Shaq opened up the conference by taking a fake phone call asking for him to apply for the job of president of the New York Knicks - the position that was vacated by Donnie Walsh on Friday morning.

O'Neal went on to say that he was going to miss a lot about the NBA - including the players and camaraderie.

"I'm really going to miss the free throws," O'Neal joked (O'Neal had a lifetime free throw percentage of 52.7).

In addition, O'Neal talked about his one year spent with the Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics, in which he played in only 37 regular season games, averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.

"Playing for Doc Rivers this year was really special," O'Neal said. ""Boston organization was very good to me. Beautiful organization - they still have a lot left. I went up there with one mission only, and I feel like I let that city down."

In addition, O'Neal also mentioned that he would have faced a nine month recovery period if he had surgery this season while playing for the Boston Celtics.

O'Neal also spoke about his relationship with former teammate Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers. O'Neal and Bryant developed a feud that became public, ultimately resulting in O'Neal's departure from Los Angeles.

"I pushed Kobe's buttons, Kobe pushed my buttons," he said. "But we were able to win three out of four [championships]."

O'Neal, who was drafted by the Orlando Magic, talked about his time with the organization, and had nothing but good things to say about the franchise and its ownership. O'Neal even talked about current Magic phenom center Dwight Howard and his potential.

"If he doesn't win three or four championships, I'll be disappointed," said O'Neal.

O'Neal finished his 19-year career with four championship rings, three with the Lakers and one with the Miami Heat in 2006, 28,596 points and 13,099 rebounds.