Related News

Home » Sports » Basketball

Shaq wants a ring for the King

SHAQUILLE O'Neal and his oversized persona debuted in Cleveland on Thursday with a stated goal for next season. His friend LeBron "King" James craves a championship, and O'Neal is here to serve.

"My motto is very simple," O'Neal said. "Win a ring for the King."

The 15-time All-Star center with four NBA titles was bedecked in a black suit, pink shirt and pink tie for an introductory news conference that might as well have been billed The Shaq Show.

Acquired last week in a blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns, O'Neal was welcomed by a team that believes he can bring this title-thirsty region its first US pro sports crown in 45 years.

The 37-year-old O'Neal has one season at US$21 million left on a five-year, US$100 million contract. However, he said, "I've got three years left in my career," perhaps to persuade the Cavaliers to extend his deal past 2010.

"I have a lot left," he said. "There's only four or five good centers in the league and I'm in that number. ... I've been in it (the NBA) for 17 years but I've missed three years because of injury. If you do the math, I've still got three years left. You got that?"

The Cavaliers most likely will ride out next season before making any plans with O'Neal, but the fifth-leading scorer in league history made it clear he doesn't want to be around for just one year. Rent-a-Shaq is not his idea of a lasting impact.

Cleveland, which hasn't celebrated a championship since the Browns won the NFL title in 1964, is the first cold-weather NBA city O'Neal has played in following stops in Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix.

Owner Dan Gilbert presented O'Neal with a large pair of winter boots -- with the toes cut out -- and an oversized shovel. But O'Neal has no concerns about Ohio's climate. His only focus is on warming James with a title.

"It's LeBron's team," he said. "He's the captain. This is the time in my career where I can fit in. I'm now in the security business. My job is to protect the King, and that's what I'm here to do."

The 2.16-meter, 147-kilogram center had difficulty meshing in with Phoenix's run-and-gun style. The Suns made just one playoff appearance during his one and a half seasons in the desert, but O'Neal is confident he can adapt to whatever offense the Cavaliers install.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend