30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sayonara Salute #9: Shaquille O'Neal

Everyone has regrets. And today... I'm going to share one of mine with you. There's an old saying... "the early bird catches the worm". And for the most part... it's true. But when it comes to my basketball card collecting history... it couldn't be further from the truth.

I've been collecting baseball cards for thirty years, but I didn't start collecting basketball until over a decade later. The first year I started buying packs of basketball cards in bulk was in 1991. I was in college, only had a part time job, and had just received my first credit card. And that was the year Larry Johnson... part of the exciting Runnin' Rebels... decided to leave UNLV after his sophomore year and enter the NBA Draft. Long story... short... I invested heavily... and I mean heavily into Grandmama. So much... that I spent the next couple of years paying it off... essentially missing out on Shaq Fu-mania.

I traded for a few of his rookies... and have picked up a few more over the years... but sadly... I missed collecting the person who single handily reshaped the hobby nineteen years ago. And that folks... is one of my biggest hobby regrets.

Well... by now... most of you have heard the news... The Diesel has finally turned of his engine and officially announced his NBA retirement. This was definitely bittersweet news for me. On one hand... Shaq Daddy left the Los Angeles Lakers on poor terms and had major issues with one of my favorite players... The Black Mamba. But on the flipside... he led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles and is the greatest center I've had the pleasure to watch.

It's nice to hear that the Lakers have decided to honor him and hang up #34 in the rafters next to fellow Lakers legends: #13 Wilt Chamberlain, #22 Elgin Baylor, #25 Gail Goodrich, #32 Earvin "Magic" Johnson, #33 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, #42 James Worthy, #44 Jerry West.

So this post is a salute to Shaquille O'Neal and his tremendous career achievements:

1992-1993 NBA Rookie of the Year
1996 Olympic Gold Medal Winner (Team USA Basketball)
1999-2000 NBA MVP
15x NBA All-Star
3x NBA All-Star MVP
4x NBA Champion
3x NBA Finals MVP
8x All-NBA First Team

Congratulations on having one helluva career.

Now that you're retired... you can concentrate on making more rap videos about Kobe.


Do you think that The Diesel makes the top 5 list of greatest centers in NBA history? Why or why not?

Obviously... I'm a little biased... but I think he's definitely in the top 5... along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Akeem Olajuwon.

Well... that's all folks... I hope everyone has a great weekend. Sayonara!


  1. I'd put him #5 on my list. Helluva career. Great post Fuji!

  2. Russell

    Number 5.

  3. I def think he is in the Top 5 centers. I just wonder if he could have made the Top 5 All-Time players in NBA history had he took better care of his body?

  4. jaybarkerfan & John Bateman - agree he's number 5 on my list too, but i think it's debatable between him and akeem for #4.

    charles - at one time... he was undoubtably the most dominant force in the NBA. just wish he would have stayed in shape and learned to hit free throws.