The Big Shamrock? The Big Leprechaun? The Big Green Monster?
Shaquille O’Neal is no stranger to having to change nicknames and his arrival in Boston is no different.
Wednesday brought new fortunes for O’Neal and his career when the Big Diesel signed a two-year contract worth $3 million with the Boston Celtics. If O’Neal plays out the length of the contract, his 20 NBA seasons will finish off one of the most entertaining careers with the NBA’s most storied franchise.
O’Neal gives the Celtics a very legitimate post presence with the loss of Rasheed Wallace to retirement. Another O’Neal with join Shaq on the Celtics, as Boston signed former Miami Heat power forward Jermaine O’Neal who after making $23 million last season, will now receive the mid-level exception of around $5 million.
Boston continues to build on the team’s effort at winning a second NBA Championship in four years. What once was the ‘Big Three’ – a trio formed when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett joined tenured Celtics forward Paul Pierce – quickly became the ‘Big Four’ with the emergence of point guard Rajon Rondo. Now, the Celtics could strive for the ‘Big 4 & the O’Neal’s’ an aging, travelling R&B group a la the Temptations of the Motown era.
Whatever nickname comes about from these developments, Boston has a very realistic chance to get back to the NBA Finals for a second straight year despite the fact that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have joined forces with Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade. The signing of Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t just a PR stunt for the Celtics, giving the team a real chance to win another NBA title.