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‘I Was Robbing the People’ – Shaquille O’Neal’s Regret of ‘Not Being Him’ in the End of His Career

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The twilight of an athlete’s career is a delicate phase—one that forces them to confront their own mortality within the game they love. Shaquille O’Neal, a dominant force in the NBA for years, experienced this transition firsthand. In a candid conversation with JJ Redick on the Old Man and the Three podcast, Shaquille opened up about the challenges he faced during the final stretch of his illustrious career.

 In a Twitter post [@jj_redick], Redick expressed his enthusiasm about the episode, specifically mentioning Shaq’s reflections on his own retirement from basketball. The tweet reads:

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“I loved every bit of this conversation with Shaq. Here he reflects on the end of his career. Full episode of @OldManAndThree drops tomorrow!”

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This piques the interest of basketball fans, particularly those who admire Shaquille O’Neal’s legendary career and want to hear his perspective on calling it quits. The upcoming episode of The Old Man and the Three promises an insightful look into Shaq’s mindset as he transitioned from dominating the court to becoming a prominent NBA analyst.

The Decline of Shaq

'I Was Robbing the People' - Shaquille O’Neal’s Regret of 'Not Being Him' in the End of His Career - THE SPORTS ROOM

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Shaquille’s journey from being the league’s most dominant player to playing limited minutes in Boston during his last season (2010-11) was a stark contrast. The man who once shattered backboards and intimidated opponents found himself grappling with the reality that “Shaq’s not Shaq anymore.” As he revealed to Redick, it messed with his psyche, leaving him feeling like he was “robbing the people” by not delivering the same level of performance.

The $1.5 Million Decision

When the Boston Celtics informed Shaquille that they owed him $1.5 million for the following year, he had a moment of clarity. Rather than accepting the money, he told them to “f**king keep it.” Shaq knew he was no longer the unstoppable force he once was, and taking that money felt like deception. It was a raw admission of his basketball mortality, a bitter pill to swallow for someone who had dominated the game for so long.

The Unthinkable Dunk

Shaquille’s realization came when he had to work hard just to execute a dunk. For a player who had thrown down thunderous slams throughout his career, this was a seismic shift. He had never considered the possibility that his physical abilities would wane. The invincibility he felt during his prime was replaced by vulnerability, and it shook him to his core.

Shaquille’s struggle is universal—a poignant reminder that even the greatest athletes face mortality. The transition from superhuman feats to mortal limitations is humbling. For years, Shaq had defied gravity, but suddenly, gravity caught up with him. His identity was intertwined with basketball, and accepting its finite nature required introspection and resilience.

As Shaquille grappled with retirement, he embarked on a new chapter. Many athletes struggle to find purpose beyond the court, but Shaq’s post-basketball journey has been multifaceted. From broadcasting to business ventures, he continues to make an impact. His candid reflections serve as a guide for others navigating the end of their careers—acknowledging the past while embracing the future.

 

ALSO READ: Jamaal Charles: Overcoming Adversity, Gold at the Special Olympics and Soaring High in the NFL World

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