Shaq attacks post-NBA life

Updated: 2012-03-12 11:04

By Sun Xiaochen in Changsha, Hunan province (China Daily)

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Shaq attacks post-NBA life

Former NBA All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal demonstrates Chinese kungfu with a local performer during a signing ceremony between Harbin Beer and the NBA in Changsha, Hunan province, on Tuesday. A superstar in the NBA known for his showy personality, O'Neal was also invited by Harbin Beer to become its "Cool Ambassador" and promote the brand in China and abroad. [Provided to China Daily]

Shaq attacks post-NBA life

Shaquille O'Neal, right, had a big day on Tuesday. He celebrated his 40th birthday, and did it during his endorsement signing ceremony with Harbin Beer in Changsha, Hunan province. [Provided to China Daily]

Shaq attacks post-NBA life


Former star center was in China last week, just one more quick stop in his whirlwind life after basketball

Somehow, Shaquille O'Neal got even busier after he retired.

The likely Hall of Fame center has lived a versatile post-NBA life, working as a TV analyst, reserve police officer and actor, and he remains popular with fans, sponsors and media.

"My life after retirement is fantastic. I keep trying different things and I travel a lot around the world to meet people in different places. It brings me different excitement. I enjoy it very much," O'Neal said after attending the launch of the NBA's new marketing partnership with Harbin Beer last week.

For the 2.16-meter giant, his latest basketball-related role was coaching a team in the rookie challenge during All-Star weekend.

Although he lost to Charles Barkley's team, O'Neal said he was satisfied with his coaching debut, saying "the manager doesn't need to appear at morning practice".

After bringing New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin onto his roster, O'Neal, a 20-year pro, gave credit to the Harvard graduate.

"He's a great team player with a clear head and full-court version. He plays well in the Knicks' system and helps the team a lot," O'Neal said. "I met him during the weekend, he's a great kid. We had a good conversation and I told him after the season if he needs anything from me I will be there for him."

O'Neal said the success of the Asian-American serves as a reminder to scouts to widen the scope of their searches.

After starring at LSU, O'Neal began his remarkable NBA career with the Orlando Magic, which made him the first pick of the 1992 draft. He went on to claim four NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, then spent three injury-plagued seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.

Boasting unparalleled size and strength, O'Neal established himself as an overpowering low-post presence, putting up career averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

Considered one of the most dominant centers in league history, O'Neal said he didn't meet any real threat until Yao Ming came along in 2002.

"Yao is a great center and the toughest opponent I met in my career. And he's a great person and one of my brothers as well," O'Neal said.

The Yao-Shaq battle became a memory after both retired last year. That ended a period of dominant centers, O'Neal said.

"I can't say the center era has gone," O'Neal said. "But the era of dominant centers has gone. First Yao and I retired. There are no more dominant centers left. There are centers, but they are not as powerful as us.

"(Dwight) Howard? He's good, but not dominant."

O'Neal said he is planning to work with Yao once the Shanghai Jiao Tong University student graduates.

"We've talked about kinds of possibilities (of an exhibition game)," O'Neal said. "It will probably be Team Yao against Team Shaq, or a one-on-one battle, or Yao's wife versus my girlfriend. When he's done his school and rests his body, we will have more talks."

O'Neal's relationship with former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant is still making headlines eight years after it ended.

Bryant recently told ESPN he never had a "true rival in his career", a claim O'Neal said he agreed with.

"I don't feel offended," O'Neal said. "He's probably correct. When he came in (Michael Jordan) just left. There's never been a guard as great as him after Michael quit. And me, we are not rivals. And I felt the same way until I met Yao Ming."

Paring with Dwayne Wade to claim another championship in 2006 and trying to repeat that feat with LeBron James two years ago, O'Neal said he would put Bryant on the top if he ranked the three stars based on what they've achieved so far.

"Probably will be Kobe and D-Wade and then LeBron. I won championships with Kobe and D-Wade. But LeBron has to prove himself capable of doing that."

Shaq attacks post-NBA life