Always the joker, Shaq opened his press conference fielding a job interview offer from the Knicks.Two quick takeaways after Shaquille O'Neal's retirement press conference Friday at his home near Orlando:
* Flanked by his college coach, LSU's Dale Brown, O'Neal made sure to single out two other coaches during the early portion of his speech: Phil Jackson of the Lakers and Doc Rivers of the Celtics. O'Neal spoke glowingly of Rivers, who was supposed to attend, but had to cancel due to a family commitment.
“Playing for Doc Rivers this year was very, very special," said O'Neal. "There's a lot of talent on that [Celtics] team and [Rivers] always, always, always focused on the team. I came in after going 5-for-6 [shooting from the field] and I'd say, 'Coach, I can go 10-for-12, or 12-for-18.' And he'd say, 'Shaq, it's not about you, it's about the team.' So, thank you, Doc."
* O'Neal reiterated much of what he told ESPN Boston's Jackie MacMullan the day of his retirement, including that surgery around the ailing right Achilles likely meant a nine-month recovery and he didn't want to hold the fans of Boston hostage for another season. He said he wanted to alert Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge of his intentions to retire immediately as to allow the team to start the process of getting younger and more athletic. O'Neal again stressed a disappointment in being unable to stay on the floor, saying he felt like he let the city down. He called the Celtics a "beautiful organization" and suggested there's still championship potential moving forward.
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