Question of the day: What was your favorite Shaq moment?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. reminisce about Shaquille O'Neal, a day after he announced via Twitter using the Tout iPhone app that he is retiring. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.
Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
The Lakers had just defeated the Indiana Pacers to win the 2000 NBA championship when Shaquille O’Neal gathered a few media people around him, a mischievous smile on his face.
He wanted to share his new nickname.
Now, there had been so many during the course of the season that was hard to figure out what he would come up with next.
“Call me the Big Deporter,” O’Neal said, laughing.
Of course, everyone in the media laughed, but no one was sure what the heck he was talking about.
And what does that mean, Shaq was asked?
“I deported all the foreign centers,” O’Neal cracked.
Indeed, he was right.
He had defeated Sacramento’s Vlade Divac, Phoenix’s Luc Longley, Portland’s Arvydas Sabonis and Indiana’s Rik Smits, sending them all home.
[Updated at 10:47 p.m.
Tom Housenick, The Morning Call
There was the sheepish, school-boy grin as he ducked his way into an office during a scene from the movie "Blue Chips." There was the masked-man dance with the Jabbawockeez at the 2009 NBA All-Star Game. There was the look of amazement following his dunk as the Lakers rallied from a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals against the Trail Blazers.
But the image that remains with me about one of the most physically dominating players in NBA history: Shaq-A-Claus. Shaq has donated millions of dollars in toys for underprivileged kids in Los Angeles (and other cities) since 1992. On the back of a tractor-trailer with a Santa hat and a smile, that was Shaq’s best side.
He delivered many Marv Albert “facials,” had his feud with Kobe and hung around too long. But few could argue that the NBA was a better place with Shaq in it.]
Photo: Shaquille O'Neal celebrates winning the championship in 2001. Credit: Mark Terrill / Associated Press