Shaq rooting on ex-teammates on Heat
Seems like the Big Fella is still rooting for his former teammates.
It was an honor playing with you two guys. You guys made me better. You guys are legends, future Hall of Famers. Go get that ring, baby. Love you guys. Peace.” -- Shaquille O'Neal to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade
Hours after Wade and James took a break from preparing for Game 2 of the NBA finals on Thursday to speak of their fond memories of playing with O'Neal in Miami and Cleveland, the retiring future Hall of Fame center posted a video on Twitter thanking them for their kind words -- and telling them to beat the Dallas Mavericks in the title series.
"LeBron, D-Wade, I saw the comments you guys said about me," O'Neal said in the short clip, one of several he's made since using Twitter to announce his retirement plans on Wednesday. "Appreciate it very much. It was an honor playing with you two guys. You guys made me better. You guys are legends, future Hall of Famers. Go get that ring, baby. Love you guys. Peace."
The Heat honored O'Neal by playing a video montage of some of his best moments in Miami -- including the scene at the 2006 championship parade -- during a first-quarter timeout of Thursday night's game.
O'Neal and Wade spent parts of four seasons together in Miami. O'Neal was with James in Cleveland for the 2009-10 season. He will formally announce his retirement at his home near Orlando, Fla., on Friday.
"As a teammate, as I've always been, I was just always appreciative of the opportunity to play with one of the greats to ever put on an NBA jersey," Wade said Thursday. "I really learned a lot from him as a professional. We had some great years together. Humbled, and totally honored, to have been a teammate. But as a fan, seeing the dominance of what he did will never be forgotten."
James and O'Neal had a relationship that began long before they were teammates in Cleveland, both respecting the other for both their basketball and business sides.
"His 19 years in this league goes unprecedented, what he was able to do for this league, not only on the court but off the court," James said. "I think he's probably one of the only big men to ever play this game to be able to market and to be able to be marketable off the court. He sold shoes, he did movies, he did a lot of things off the court."
"Don't forget rap," Wade interjected.
"He rapped too," James said with a laugh. "Sold records, he did a lot. He did everything. His personality is definitely something I gravitated toward ... even before I had him as a teammate."
O'Neal's playing days may be over, but Wade and James both know he will remain in the spotlight, somehow.
"This won't be the last time we see Shaq," Wade said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press