Shaquille O'Neal

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Posted by bender 04/18/2009 @ 17:07

Tags : shaquille o'neal, basketball players, basketball, sports

News headlines
Shaq in Cleveland? Local businesses would happily embrace a (big ... - The Plain Dealer - cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Is Cleveland big enough for Shaquille O'Neal? Recent reports that the Cavaliers had renewed their interest in obtaining the Phoenix Suns' All-Star center prompted questions about how the big fella would fit in here. Literally....
Give Shaquille O'Neal credit if he can leave the Phoenix Suns, but ... - The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com
There should be no beef whatsoever from anyone with Shaquille O'Neal turning into a hired gun as his NBA career draws to a close. Michael democker/The Times-picayuneshaquille O'Neal is trying to get out of Phoenix, but it wouldn't help the New Orleans...
Could-Be Cavaliers - Antawn Jamison - The Plain Dealer - cleveland.com
Last week, Ford proposed a potential 3-way deal (near the bottom) that involved the Cavaliers' effort to acquire both Shaquille O'Neal and Antawn Jamison. The deal looks like this: The Suns send Shaquille O'Neal to Cleveland and Amare Stoudemire to...
Deal for O'Neal worth risk for Cavs - FOXSports.com
by Bob Hunter, The Columbus Dispatch , The Columbus Dispatch Would the Cavs have lost to the Magic if they had completed the much-publicized trade-deadline deal and acquired Shaquille O'Neal from Phoenix? There's no way to know, but we do know what...
Commanding the Stage at Another French Open - New York Times
Among the athletic elite with pop ambitions, Mr. Noah, 49, is more convincing than, say, Shaquille O'Neal as a rapper. Yannick Noah at Central Park SummerStage on Sunday. The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews,...
Los Angeles Lakers 2009 Draft Preview - Seattle Post Intelligencer
By John McMullen, NBA Editor (Sports Network) - The rich got richer this past season when the Lakers earned their 15th NBA championship and Kobe Bryant snared his first without Shaquille O'Neal. The Lakers will continue to be a significant contender...
Social network Twitter ushers in new era for athletes - Orlando Sentinel
Shaquille O'Neal has 1.34 million followers on Twitter. That "Twitterville" would be the seventh-largest city in the United States, just ahead of San Antonio, where he played high school basketball. If that isn't an endorsement for every athlete out...
Phoenix Suns 2009 Draft Preview - ABC Action News
Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Phoenix Suns is interviewed while dressed as a jockey prior to the start of the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7, 2008 in Elmont, New York. (Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images) It looks like the Suns...
How Marcin Gortat Could Be the Key to the Shaquille O'Neal Deal ... - Bleacher Report
by Seth Cox (Contributor) The Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers trade has been broken down to kingdom come. I have written about it twice: So I will not be doing another breakdown of the trade. In fact, I will act as if the trade has actually...
Shaquille O'Neal Headed To MMA Next? Issues Challenge To Hong Man Choi - BallerStatus.com
Is Shaquille O'Neal getting ready for another sports career once he retires from the NBA? MMA? UFC? Maybe. In a video clip posted over at The6Levels.com (run my instructor John Burke), the 7'1" NBA center, fresh off a training session,...

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal as a member of the Suns against the New Orleans Hornets, February 27, 2008

O'Neal first gained national attention as a star at Linton Middle School. He led his Robert G. Cole High School team, San Antonio, Texas, to a 68–1 record during his two years there and helped the team win the state title his senior year. His 791 rebounds during the 1989 season remain a state record for any one player in any classification.

After graduating from high school, O'Neal attended Louisiana State University, where he was a member of Omega Psi Phi and studied business. He had first met Dale Brown, LSU's men's basketball coach at that time, years before in Europe. With O'Neal's stepfather stationed on a U.S. Army base at Wildflecken, West Germany, and his godfather a First Sergeant at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, O'Neal attended Fulda American High School, a DODDS school.

While playing for Brown at LSU, O'Neal was a two-time All-American, two-time SEC player of the year, and received the Adolph Rupp Trophy as NCAA men's basketball player of the year in 1991. He also holds the NCAA record for blocked shots in a game with 17 blocks against Mississippi State on December 3, 1990.

O'Neal left LSU early to pursue his NBA career, but returned to school in 2000 and received a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies. He was later inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame.

O'Neal was drafted as the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic (he would later be teammates on the Miami Heat with the second and third picks of that same draft: Alonzo Mourning and Christian Laettner). During that summer, prior to moving to Orlando, he spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

O'Neal had an exceptional rookie season, as he helped the Magic win 20 more games than the previous season, with the team ultimately missing the playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker with the Indiana Pacers. O'Neal averaged 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game for the season and was named the 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year. O'Neal played in the All-Star game and scored 14 points. On two occasions during that season, each during a nationally televised game, O'Neal dunked the ball so hard that he broke the backboard support units. On the first occasion, in a game against Phoenix, the force from his dunk caused the entire goal to bend backward and then slowly sink to the ground. On the second occasion, in a game in New Jersey, the force of the dunk brought down the backboard and shot clock with it.

O'Neal's second season was even better than his first. Teaming with newly-drafted Anfernee Hardaway, O'Neal averaged 29.4 points and led the NBA in field goal percentage at 60%. He was also voted into another All-Star game and helped the Magic make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. On November 20, 1993, against the New Jersey Nets, O'Neal registered the first triple-double of his career, recording 24 points to go along with career highs of 28 rebounds and 15 blocks. He made the All-NBA 3rd Team also.

In his third season, O'Neal led the NBA in scoring and was voted into his 3rd straight All-Star Game. Orlando won 57 games and won the Atlantic Division. The Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals, but were swept by the Houston Rockets. O'Neal made the All-NBA 2nd Team and was second in MVP voting. By O'Neal's own admission, he was badly outplayed during that series by Houston's more experienced superstar center Hakeem Olajuwon, despite putting up admirable numbers in the series. O'Neal has stated that this was one of only two times in his life that he ever cried (the other at the death of his grandmother). His father also used the loss as motivation, saying to his son that "maybe you shouldn't have shook Mr. Olajuwon's hand" (in congratulations for his win).

O'Neal was injured for a great deal of the 1995–96 season, missing 28 games. He averaged 26.6 points per game, made the All-NBA 3rd Team, and he made his 4th All-Star Game. O'Neal scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Magic won 60 games and won the Atlantic Division again, but Orlando was swept by the (eventual champions) Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. Now a free agent, O'Neal contemplated whether his future would be best served by remaining with the Magic or by moving on to a new team.

By this point, O'Neal had shown an interest in things outside basketball, including recording several rap albums and acting in films. Summer of 1995 O'Neal was named to the United States Olympic basketball team, and was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

After the 1995–96 season, O'Neal left the Orlando Magic to join the Los Angeles Lakers after being enticed by a seven-year, $121 million contract. The announcement was made in Atlanta at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

O'Neal joined a young Laker squad that had recently returned to the playoffs, but of which little was expected. O'Neal's arrival vastly changed expectations, but he missed a significant number of games due to injury in the 1996-97 season and several players had difficulty meshing with the new focal point of the offense. By 1997–98, key role players Rick Fox and Robert Horry had been added by Laker GM Jerry West. This group meshed well and won 61 regular season games. However, in both of his first two seasons in Los Angeles, O'Neal suffered a lopsided play-off defeat by the Utah Jazz. The Lakers lost the 1997 conference semifinals 4-1 and 1998 conference finals 4-0.

During a shootaround prior to the season opener versus the Utah Jazz in 1997, O'Neal got into a spat with Utah center Greg Ostertag, slapping him and sending him tumbling to the floor. O'Neal was suspended for the incident. He did not play in the game, due to an abdominal injury.

The Lakers were clearly a team on the rise with the tandem of O'Neal and teenage superstar Kobe Bryant. However, the 1998–99 season was marked by nearly constant change within the Lakers. Long-time Lakers point guard Nick Van Exel was traded to the Denver Nuggets after a dispute with O'Neal. His former backcourt partner Eddie Jones was packaged with back-up center Elden Campbell for Glen Rice to satisfy a demand by O'Neal for a shooter. Coach Del Harris was fired and former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman was signed, but Rodman only lasted 23 games before leaving. The result was no better as the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs would go on to win their first league title that year.

In 1999, the Lakers hired Phil Jackson as their new head coach, and the team's fortunes soon changed. Utilizing Jackson's triangle offense, O'Neal and Bryant went on to enjoy tremendous success on the court, as they led the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles (2000, 2001, 2002). O'Neal was named MVP of the NBA Finals all three times and has the highest scoring average for a center in NBA Finals history.

O'Neal was also voted the 1999–2000 regular season Most Valuable Player, coming just one vote short of becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. Fred Hickman, then of CNN, was the sole voter who did not cast his first place vote for O'Neal, instead choosing Allen Iverson, then of the Philadelphia 76ers. O'Neal also won the scoring title that year while finishing second in rebounds and third in blocked shots.

In the summer of 2001, holding a basketball camp on the campus of Louisiana State University, O'Neal was challenged by LSU alumnus and current Boston Celtics player Glen "Big Baby" Davis, then 15 years of age and attending high school, to a friendly wrestling match, in which O'Neal, weighing 350 lb (160 kg; 25 st), was lifted and body-slammed to the ground, leaving an impression on him. In January 2002 he was involved in a spectacular on-court brawl in a game against the Chicago Bulls, punching center Brad Miller after an intentional foul to prevent a basket and resulting in a melee with Miller, forward Charles Oakley and several other players. O'Neal was suspended for three games without pay and given a $15,000 fine.

After the Lakers fell to 5th seed and failed to reach the Finals in 2003, the team made a concerted off-season effort to improve its roster. They sought the free agent services of forward legend Karl Malone and aging guard Gary Payton, but due to salary cap restrictions, could not offer either one nearly as much money as he could have made with other teams. O'Neal assisted in the recruitment efforts and personally persuaded both men to join the team. Ultimately, each of them signed, forgoing larger salaries in favor of a chance to win an NBA championship, something neither had accomplished in his career (which neither would achieve with the Lakers). At the beginning of the 2003–04 season, with two years left on his contract at the time, O'Neal informed the team of his desire for a substantially larger extension to his contract. O'Neal remained persistently vocal about this desire, but Laker management was hesitant to meet his demands amid concerns about his work ethic, the possibility of further injuries, and a general decline in his game due to age. It is widely believed that there was also concern about O'Neal's relationship with Kobe Bryant, as the two had exchanged public barbs during the off-season. With Bryant scheduled to become a free agent at the end of that season, many believed he would not choose to remain with the Lakers as O'Neal's sidekick.

The Lakers did eventually offer O'Neal a large contract in February 2004 (according to the book Madmen's Ball by Mark Heisler) under which he would have unquestionably continued to remain the highest paid player in the league, but he reportedly refused after feeling his services were not needed.

After the Lakers' loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was angered by comments made by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak regarding O'Neal's future with the club, as well as by the departure of Lakers coach Phil Jackson at the request of Dr. Buss. O'Neal made comments indicating that he felt the team's decisions were centered on a desire to appease Bryant to the exclusion of all other concerns, and O'Neal promptly demanded a trade. The Dallas Mavericks and their team owner Mark Cuban were extremely interested in O'Neal and were willing to make a trade with the Lakers, but Kupchak wanted Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs' superstar, in return. Cuban refused to let go of Nowitzki and the Lakers ended trade talks with Dallas. However, Miami showed interest and gradually a trade agreement was made.

On July 14, 2004, O'Neal was officially traded to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and a future first-round draft choice. O'Neal reverted from his Lakers jersey number 34 to number 32 which he wore while playing for the Orlando Magic. Upon signing with the Heat, O'Neal promised the fans that he would bring a championship to Miami. He claimed that one of the main reasons for wanting to be traded to Miami was because of their up-and-coming star, Dwyane Wade. With O'Neal on board, the new-look Heat surpassed expectations, claiming the best record in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 22.9 ppg and 10.2 rpg, made his 12th consecutive All-Star Team, and made the All-NBA 1st Team. Despite being hobbled by a deep thigh bruise, O'Neal led the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals and a Game 7 against the defending champion Detroit Pistons, losing by a narrow margin. He also narrowly lost the 2004–05 MVP Award to Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash in one of the closest votes in NBA history.

In August 2005, O'Neal signed a 5-year-extension with the Heat for $100 million. Supporters applauded O'Neal's willingness to take what amounted to a pay cut and the Heat's decision to secure O'Neal's services for the long term. They contended that O'Neal was worth more than $20 million per year, particularly given that considerably less valuable players earn almost the same amount. Critics, however, questioned the wisdom of the move, characterizing it as overpaying an aging and often injured player.

In the second game of the 2005–06 season, O'Neal injured his right ankle and subsequently missed the following 18 games. Many critics stated that Heat coach Pat Riley correctly managed O'Neal during the rest of the season, limiting his minutes to a career low. Riley felt doing so would allow O'Neal to be healthier and fresher come playoff time. Although O'Neal averaged career lows (or near-lows) in points, rebounds, and blocks, he said in an interview "Stats don't matter. I care about winning, not stats. If I score 0 points and we win I'm happy. If I score 50, 60 points, break the records, and we lose, I'm pissed off. 'Cause I knew I did something wrong. I'll have a hell of a season if I win the championship and average 20 points a game." During the 2005–06 season, the Heat recorded only a .500 record without O'Neal in the line-up.

On April 11, 2006, O'Neal recorded his second career triple-double against the Toronto Raptors with 15 points, 11 rebounds and a career high 10 assists.

O'Neal finished the season as the league leader in field goal percentage; he joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players in league history to lead the league in field goal percentage nine times.

In the 2006 NBA Playoffs, the Miami Heat would go on to win their first NBA Championship. Led by both O'Neal and star Dwyane Wade, the 2nd seeded Heat defeated the defending Eastern Conference Champion and top-seeded Detroit Pistons in a rematch of the 2005 Conference Finals, and then defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals.

In the 2006–07 season O'Neal missed over thirty games with a right knee injury. The Miami Heat struggled during his absence but with his return won seven of their next eight games. Bad luck still haunted the squad however, as Wade dislocated his left shoulder, leaving O'Neal as the focus of the team. Critics were doubting if O'Neal, now in his mid thirties, was able to put the team on his shoulders and if he could carry them into the playoffs. The Heat went on a much needed winning streak to keep them in the race for a playoff spot, which the Heat finally secured against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 5.

In a rematch of the year before, the Heat faced the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. The Heat struggled against the Bulls and although O'Neal put up reasonable numbers, he was not able to dominate the series. The Bulls outplayed the Heat, resulting in a sweep. It was for the first time in ten years that O'Neal did not advance into the second round.

In the 2006–07 season O'Neal reached 25,000 career points, becoming the 14th player in NBA history to accomplish that milestone. Despite this milestone, the 2006–07 season was the first in his career in which O'Neal's scoring average dropped below 20 points per game.

O'Neal experienced a rough start for the 2007–08 season, averaging career lows in points, rebounds and blocks. His role in the Heat offense diminished, as he attempted only 10 field goals per game, in comparison with his career average of 17. In addition, O'Neal was plagued by fouls, and during one stretch fouled out five consecutive games. As a result of his poor performance and lengthy court absences, O'Neal's 14 straight All-Star appearances ended that season, as he was neither selected as a starter nor as a reserve in the game at New Orleans.

However, in 28 regular-season games, O'Neal averaged 12.9 points and 10.6 rebounds in his first year with the Suns, reaching the playoffs. One of the alleged reasons for the trade was to limit Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs in case of a series during the postseason, especially after the Suns' six-game elimination in the 2007 NBA Playoffs. O'Neal and the Phoenix Suns did face the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, yet they were once again eliminated, this time in five games. In the series, O'Neal averaged 15.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.

The 2008-09 season differed very much for O'Neal, averaging 18 pts, 9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks through the first half (41 games) of the season, leading the Suns to a 23-18 record and 2nd place in their division. He returned to the All-Star Game in 2009 and emerged as co-MVP along with ex-teammate Kobe Bryant.

On February 27, 2009, O'Neal scored 45 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, his 49th career 40-point game in a win against the Toronto Raptors. He and the Suns defeated the Raptors 133-113. He currently averages a career high 63% free throw percentage.

Throughout his career, O'Neal established himself as a formidable low post presence, putting up career averages of 25.2 points on .581 field goal accuracy, 11.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game (as of May 2008).

At 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m), 325 lb (147 kg; 23.2 st) and U.S. shoe size 23, he is famous for his physical stature. His physical frame gives him a power advantage over most opponents, and for a man of that size, he is quick and explosive.

O'Neal's "drop step", (called the "Black Tornado" by O’Neal) in which he posts up a defender, turns around and, using his elbows for leverage, powers past him for a very high-percentage slam dunk, has proven an extremely effective offensive weapon, though it has been limited in recent years. In addition, O'Neal frequently uses a right-handed jump hook shot to score near the basket. The ability to dunk frequently contributes to his career field goal accuracy of .580; he is the second most accurate shooter of all time.

Opposing teams often use up many fouls on O’Neal, limiting the playing time of their own big men. O'Neal's physical presence inside the paint has caused dramatic changes in many teams' offensive and defensive strategies that can be seen over the course of his career. Trying to defend O'Neal, teams put two, or sometimes even three defenders on him, resulting in uncontested shot opportunities for his teammates.

O'Neal's primary weakness is his free-throw shooting. His career average is 52.4%. He once missed all 11 free throws in a game against the Seattle SuperSonics on December 8, 2000, a record. In hope of exploiting O'Neal's poor foul shooting, opponents often commit intentional fouls against him, a tactic known as "Hack-a-Shaq". O'Neal is the fourth-ranked player all-time in free throws taken, having shot 9744 in 971 games. On December 25, 2008, O'Neal missed his 5,000th free throw, becoming the second player in NBA history to do so along with Wilt Chamberlain.

O'Neal has been able to step up his performance in big games, having been voted three-times NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. However, because of his poor free-throw shooting (see below), often he is either placed on the bench, or not called upon to take shots, in the closing moments of games, when free throws become important.

On his own half of the hardwood, O'Neal is considered to be a capable defender, and he was named three times to the All-NBA Second Defensive Team. His presence serves to intimidate opposing players shooting near the basket, and he has averaged 2.4 blocked shots per game over the course of his career. He is a less effective defender at the perimeter, sometimes targeted for pick-and-roll plays by opposing teams.

As a teammate, O'Neal is also noted for his ability to form symbiotic relationships with young, talented guards. Playing alongside O'Neal, talents like Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade blossomed into legitimate superstars. Eventually, his relationships with Hardaway and Bryant soured, but O'Neal has embraced his relationship with Wade, and the two have shown to be fully supportive of each other in their three years together. He has since reconciled with both Bryant and Hardaway.

During the 2000 Screen Actors Guild strike, O'Neal performed in a commercial for Disney. O'Neal was fined by the union for crossing the picket line.

O'Neal's humorous and sometimes incendiary comments fueled the Los Angeles Lakers' long standing rivalry with the Sacramento Kings; O'Neal frequently referred to the Sacramento team as the "Queens." During the 2002 victory parade, O'Neal declared that Sacramento will never be the capital of California, after the Lakers beat the Kings in a tough seven game series enroute to completing a three-peat of championship titles. He also received some media flak for mocking Chinese speech when interviewed about newcomer center Yao Ming, but he was able to downplay the media attention to the event. O'Neal told a reporter, "you tell Yao Ming, ching chong yang, wah, ah so". Yao himself stated he did not find it offensive, but could see how others might interpret the remark as a racist comment. Yao replied that Chinese is a difficult language to learn. O'Neal's supporters said it was a reaction to Yao being over promoted by marketers and the media. Some blame this hype for allowing Yao to edge O'Neal in fan voting for the starting position of center at the All-Star Game.

During the 2005 NBA playoffs, O'Neal lamented of his poor play due to injury as being comparable to Erick Dampier, a Dallas Mavericks center who had failed to score a single point in one of their recent games. The quip inspired countless citations and references by announcers during those playoffs, though Dampier himself offered little response to the insult. The two would meet in the 2006 NBA Finals.

On May 24, 2005, when Brian Hill was re-announced as head coach of his former team, the Orlando Magic, O'Neal was quoted as saying, "It's good that he's back. When I buy the team Magic in three years, he'll be working for me." Whether or not this will raise speculation of O'Neal's life after playing basketball remains to be seen.

O'Neal is very vocal with the media, and often jabs at former Laker teammate Kobe Bryant. In the summer of 2005, when asked about Kobe, he responded, "I'm sorry, who?" and continued to pretend that he did not know who Kobe was until well into the 2005-2006 season.

O'Neal has also appeared in many other shows such as Saturday Night Live and in 2007 hosted Shaq's Big Challenge, a reality show on ABC where he challenged Florida kids to lose weight and stay in shape.

O'Neal left LSU for the NBA after three years. However, he promised his mother he would eventually return to his studies and complete his bachelor's degree. He fulfilled that promise in 2000, earning his bachelor of arts in general studies. Coach Phil Jackson let O'Neal miss a home game so he could attend graduation. At the ceremony, he told the crowd "now I can go and get a real job". Subsequently, O'Neal earned an MBA online through the University of Phoenix in 2005.

It's just something to have on my resume for when I go back into reality. Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else.

Also, O'Neal has maintained a high level of interest in the workings of the police department and has become personally involved in law enforcement. O'Neal went through the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Reserve Academy and became a reserve officer with the L.A. Port Police. He is seen in a commercial for ESPN in Miami Police garb climbing up a tree to rescue LSU mascot Mike the Tiger (the costumed one, not the real one).

On March 2, 2005, O'Neal was given an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshal title and named the spokesman for the Safe Surfin' Foundation; he served an honorary role on the task force of the same name, which tracks down sexual predators who target children on the Internet.

Upon his trade to Miami, O'Neal began training to become a Miami Beach reserve officer. On December 8, 2005, he was sworn in as a reserve officer, electing for a private ceremony so not to distract from the special moment of the other officers. He assumed a $1 per year salary in this capacity. Shortly thereafter, in Miami, O'Neal was a witness to a hate crime and called Miami-Dade police, giving them a description of the suspect and helping police, over his cell phone, track the offender. O'Neal's actions resulted in the arrest of two suspects, whom he had witnessed assaulting a man on the street while calling out homosexual slurs.

From 1993 onward, O'Neal has pursued a rapping career. He has released five studio albums and 1 compilation album. Although his rapping abilities have often been criticized, it has been noted that he has continuously been "progressing as a rapper in small steps, not leaps and bounds." His 1993 debut album, Shaq Diesel, received platinum certification from the RIAA. His first rap single, "(I Know I Got) Skillz," was recently featured on the film Pineapple Express.

O'Neal has appeared as himself on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, bedridden after Larry David's character accidentally tripped him while stretching, and in two episodes each of My Wife and Kids and the The Parkers. O'Neal appeared in the 311 music video for the hit single "You Wouldn't Believe" in 2001, in P. Diddy's video for "Bad Boys 4 Life", and the video for Aaron Carter's "That's How I Beat Shaq. O'Neal appeared in the movie CB4 in a small "interviewing" scene. O'Neal played John Henry Irons/Steel in a movie based on the popular superhero Steel. O'Neal appeared in a SportsCenter commercial dressed in his Miami police uniform, rescuing Mike the Tiger from a tree. O'Neal was also a support character in the movie "Blue Chips" with Nick Nolte. O'Neal also reportedly wanted a role in the film X2 (the second in the X-Men film series), but was ignored by the filmmakers.

He has voiced animated versions of himself on several occasions, including on the animated series Static Shaq episode of Static Shock' in the Johnny Bravo episode Back on Shaq, in which Shaquille O'Neal discovers that Johnny Bravo is a good luck charm and uses him to help his team win games until it came to a face-off against Seth Green and his good-luck charm Huckleberry Hound; and in the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, in which he is seen fighting Godzilla and survives a collision with the Batmobile. Because he is a fan of The Man of Steel, Static Shock creators had hoped to have O’Neal and Superman meet in a Season 3 episode, but O'Neal was not located in time to do the episode.

O'Neal is featured on the covers of video games NBA Live 96, NBA 2K6, NBA 2K7, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, NBA Hoopz, and NBA Inside Drive 2004. O'Neal appeared in the arcade version of NBA Jam, NBA Jam (2003) and NBA Live 2004 as a current player and as a 90's All-Star. O'Neal starred in Shaq Fu, a fighting game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. O’Neal has also appeared in Backyard Basketball 2004, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 as a playable boxer, and as an unlockable character in Delta Force: Black Hawk Down.

O'Neal and his mother, Lucille Harrison, were featured in the documentary film, Apple Pie, which aired on ESPN. O'Neal had a 2005 reality series on ESPN, Shaquille and hosted a reality television show called Shaq's Big Challenge on ABC.

O'Neal appeared on NBA Ballers and NBA Ballers: Phenom, in the 2002 Discovery Channel special "Motorcycle Mania 2" requesting an exceptionally large bike to fit his large size from famed custom motorcycle builder Jesse G. James, in the first Idol Gives Back in 2007, on on an episode of Fear Factor, and on an episode of MTV's Jackass, where he was lifted off the ground on Wee Man's back. O'Neal is a fan of wrestling and has made appearances at many WWE events. O'Neal was pranked on the MTV show Punk'd when a crew member accused him of stealing his parking space. After O'Neal and his wife went into the restaurant, Ashton Kutcher's crew members let the air out of O'Neal's car tires. O'Neal and the crew member then got into an altercation and after Kutcher told O'Neal he was Punk'd, O'Neal flipped the bird at the camera. .

O'Neal is looking to expand his business ventures with real-estate-development projects aimed at assisting Orlando homeowners facing foreclosure. His plans involve buying the mortgages of those who have fallen into foreclosure and then selling the homes back to them under more affordable terms. He would make a small profit in return, but overall, O'Neal is looking to make an investment in Orlando and help out the homeowners of the city.

In his mansion in Orlando, Florida, O'Neal has a homemade movie theater with two rows of five retractable chairs, Superman lights, another Superman symbol on the floor, a big screen, another superman symbol on his blanket, and 5.1 surround sound. O'Neal also has an indoor basketball court.

O'Neal married Shaunie Nelson on December 26, 2002. The couple have four children (Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me'arah, ages ranging from 8 to 2, in order), and Nelson has one child from a previous relationship (Myles, 11). O'Neal also has a daughter from a previous relationship (Taahirah, 12), making him the father of six. The family currently resides on Star Island in Miami, Florida. On September 4, 2007, O'Neal filed for divorce from his wife Shaunie in a Miami-Dade Circuit court. According to the petition, "The marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken", and that Shaunie was "secretive about her assets ... particularly with respect to certain properties owned or titled in either name alone or in other entities" and requests that the court require Shaunie to give a "correct accounting of all money, funds, stocks, bonds, and other securities (including bearer securities)" Shaunie later said that the couple had gotten back together and that the divorce was withdrawn.

O'Neal is a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

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The Best of Shaquille O'Neal

The Best of Shaquille O'Neal cover

The Best of Shaquille O'Neal is the first compilation and third overall album by NBA player/rapper, Shaquille O'Neal. The album was released on November 12, 1996, just days before his third studio album, You Can't Stop the Reign, and was his last for Jive Records. Due to its release date, the album only featured songs from his first two albums, Shaq Diesel and Shaq-Fu: Da Return, as well as the Fu-Schnickens song, "What Up Doc? (Can We Rock)" from their album Nervous Breakdown.

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Shaquille O'Neal Presents His Superfriends, Vol. 1

Presents His Superfriends, Vol. 1 cover

Shaquille O'Neal Presents His Superfriends, Vol. 1 is an unreleased album by Shaquille O'Neal. Completed in 2001, it was intended to be the NBA Superstar's fifth solo album. Producers for the album included Denaun Porter, Big Tank, L. T. Hutton, Rick Rock, and Dr. Dre. The original release date was slated for September 11, 2001, but was pushed back to October 9th of the same year. After much delay, the album was abandoned completely and never released.

O'Neal had released four albums before Superfriends: 1993's double platinum-certified Shaq Diesel, 1994's platinum-certified Shaq-Fu: Da Return, 1996's Can't Stop The Reign, and 1998's Respect. O'Neal also released a "Best Of" album that debuted in 1996.

In 2001, Shaquille O'Neal performed a rendition of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's platinum 1988 hit "It Takes Two" at the Los Angeles Lakers back-to-back championship victory parade in front of the Los Angeles Staples Center. It was later stated in an interview that O'Neal had already begun production for the track after the Lakers first championship win in 2000. The song was scheduled to a part of his "Superfriends" compilation and featured vocalist Nicole Scherzinger (formerly from Eden's Crush and now of The Pussycat Dolls).

As the title suggests, the album was to host many of Shaq's musical associates. Scheduled to appear on the album were Nate Dogg, R.L. of Next, Peter Gunz, Fieldy of Korn, Thor-El, Dr. Dre, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, Lord Tariq, 112, Jayo Felony, WC of Westside Connection, Trina, Ludacris, Joi of Lucy Pearl, Mos Def, Nicole Scherzinger, Common, Black Thought of The Roots, Nick Hexum and Chad Sexton of 311, Black Rob, Twista, George Clinton, Talib Kweli, Memphis Bleek, Snoop Dogg, and Angie Stone.

Because the project was abandoned, the only available music from album was released in singles by Fireworks Distribution. Most of the singles that were released were only given to "Shaq Team" members, a group of the American public that volunteered to promote and distribute the material. Singles were released on both 12" vinyl records and compact discs.

The first single off the "Superfriends" album, "Connected," was a West coast success. The song received large radio play from California hip-hop stations such as Power 106, KDAY, and 100.3 The Beat. The following singles "Do It Faster" and "In the Sun" were not as well received.

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Tim Duncan

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Timothy "Tim" Theodore Duncan (born April 25, 1976) is a Virgin Islander American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), 260-pound (118 kg) power forward/center is a four-time NBA champion, a three-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, and the current captain of the Spurs. He has also won the NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA Most Valuable Player Award twice, and has been voted into 11 NBA All-Star Games, 11 All-NBA Teams, and 11 All-Defensive Teams.

Duncan started out as a swimmer and only began playing basketball in ninth grade, after a hurricane destroyed the only Olympic-sized pool on the island. However, he soon became a standout for St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School, and had an illustrious college career with the Wake Forest University Demon Deacons, winning the Naismith College Player of the Year, USBWA College Player of the Year and John Wooden awards in his final year. Duncan graduated from college before entering the 1997 NBA Draft as the number one pick, and his list of accomplishments, remarkable consistency, and leadership in the Spurs' NBA title runs in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007 have led basketball experts to consider him to be one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history.

Off the court, Duncan is known for his quiet and unassuming ways, as well as his active philanthropy. He holds an honors degree in psychology and created the Tim Duncan Foundation to raise general health awareness and fund education and youth sports in various parts of the United States.

Duncan is the only son of Ione and William Duncan, a midwife and a mason respectively, joining his two older sisters Cheryl and Tricia in a middle-class family in Christiansted, a town on Saint Croix, one of the main islands composing the United States Virgin Islands. In school, Duncan was a bright pupil and dreamt of becoming an Olympic-level swimmer like his sister, Tricia. His parents were very supportive and Duncan excelled at swimming, becoming a teenage standout in the 50, 100 and 400 meters freestyle and aiming to make the 1992 Olympic Games as a member of the United States Team.

When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the island's only Olympic size swimming pool in 1989, forcing Duncan to swim in the ocean, he soon lost enthusiasm because of his fear of sharks. Duncan was dealt another emotional blow when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died one day before his 14th birthday. In her last days, she made Duncan and his sisters promise to finish college with a degree, which would later explain Duncan's reluctance to leave college early. Duncan never swam competitively again, but was inspired by his brother-in-law to turn to basketball.

Duncan initially had difficulties adapting to the game he thought would help relieve his pain and frustration. Nancy Pomroy, the athletic director of the St. Croix Country Day School was quoted: " was so huge. So big and tall, but he was awfully awkward at the time." He overcame this to become a standout for the St. Dunstan’s Episcopal High School, averaging 25 points per game as a senior. His play attracted the attention of several universities, despite having only picked up the game in ninth grade. Wake Forest University basketball coach Dave Odom in particular grew interested in Duncan after the 16-year-old allegedly played NBA star Alonzo Mourning to a draw in a 5-on-5 pick-up game. Odom was searching for a tall, physical player to play near the basket. Given the weak level of basketball in the Virgin Islands, Odom was wary about Duncan at first, especially after first meeting him and thinking him to be inattentive; Duncan stared blankly at Odom for most of the conversation. However, after the first talk, Odom understood that this was just Duncan's way of paying attention, and discovered that he was not only athletically talented, but also a quick learner. Eventually, despite offers by the University of Hartford, the University of Delaware and Providence College, Duncan joined Odom's Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons had previously reached the Sweet 16, but lost main scorer Rodney Rogers, who had entered the 1993 NBA Draft. Duncan struggled with early transition problems and was even held scoreless in his first college game, but as the year progressed, he and teammate Randolph Childress led the Deacons to a 20–11 win-loss record. Duncan's style of play was simple but effective, combining an array of low-post moves, mid-range bank shots and tough defense. He was chosen to represent the U.S. in the 1994 Goodwill Games. Meanwhile, Duncan worked towards a degree in psychology and also took classes in anthropology and Chinese literature. Despite focusing heavily on basketball, Wake Forest psychology department chairperson Deborah Best was quoted: "Tim was one of my more intellectual students. Other than his height, I couldn't tell him from any other student at Wake Forrest." Duncan also established his reputation as a stoic player, to the extent that opposing fans taunted him as "Mr. Spock", the prototypical logical, detached character from Star Trek.

In the 1994–95 NCAA season, the sophomore was soon called one of the most eligible NBA prospects, along with his peers Joe Smith, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. Los Angeles Lakers general manager Jerry West suggested that Duncan might become the top pick in the 1995 NBA Draft if he went early, but Duncan assured everyone he had no intention of going pro until he graduated, even though the NBA was planning to add a rookie salary cap in 1996. He was giving up a lot of money, but was determined to stay in school. In that season, he led the Demon Deacons into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship game against a Rasheed Wallace-led North Carolina Tar Heels. During that game, Duncan neutralized the threat of Wallace, while Childress sealed the win with a jump shot with four seconds left in overtime. In the NCAA Tournament, the Demon Deacons reached the Sweet 16, and playing against Oklahoma State, Duncan scored 12 points to go with 22 rebounds and eight blocks, outplaying Bryant Reeves, but his team lost 66–71. Still, Duncan ended the year averaging 16.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, was named Defensive Player of the Year and became the third-best shot-blocker in NCAA history with 3.98 denials per game. He was also voted All-ACC First Team, a feat he would repeat in each of his two remaining years at Wake Forest.

In the following 1995–96 NCAA season, Wake Forest had to deal with the loss of Childress, who entered the NBA. This provided an opportunity for Duncan to show his leadership qualities, and his inexperienced team lost only four games in the entire ACC season. The Demon Deacons won the ACC Finals again, but in the Sweet 16, Duncan came down with flu, and his team missed the Final Four by one win. He completed another remarkable season with averages of 19.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, and was again voted Defensive and ACC Player of the Year. At the season's end the Wake Forest star was rumored to enter the NBA Draft early, but in the end, he stayed in college.

In the 1996–97 NCAA season, Duncan was helped by the addition of future NBA player Loren Woods, a 7'1" player who eased the pressure on Duncan close to the basket. The Demon Deacons won their first 13 games, but then got into a slump and failed to win a third ACC title. The NCAA campaign was just as frustrating, as Stanford University led by future NBA point guard Brevin Knight eliminated Duncan's team with a 72–66 win. Duncan finished with an individually impressive season though, averaging 20.8 points, 14.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting .606 from the field and winning the Defensive Player of the Year for an unprecedented third straight season. He earned first-team All-America honors for the second time, and was a unanimous pick for both USWBA and Naismith College Player of the Year. Duncan led the 1996–97 NCAA Division I in rebounding, was 10th in blocked shots (3.3 bpg) and 28th in scoring (20.8 ppg). He was voted ACC Player of the Year again and won the 1997 John Wooden Award as the NCAA's best overall male player based on the votes of sportscasters and newswriters.

In contrast to contemporary prep-to-pro players like Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, Duncan stayed at college for a full four years. During that period, he was a two-time ACC Player of the Year, and an unprecedented three-time NABC Defensive Player of the Year. The center also made the All-ACC Tournament between 1995 and 1997, the All-ACC First Team between 1995 and 1997, and was named Most Valuable Player of the 1996 ACC Tournament. Further, 1996 was the year where he led the conference in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage and blocked shots, becoming the first player in conference history to lead all four of those categories. Overall, Duncan led his team to a 97–31 win-loss record and finished his college career as the second-leading shot blocker in NCAA history, and remains one of only ten players with more than 2,000 career points and 1,500 career rebounds. He was also the first player in NCAA history to reach 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 blocked shots and 200 assists. He left college as the all-time leading shot-blocker in ACC history with 481 blocks – second in NCAA annals behind Colgate's Adonal Foyle and third on the ACC career rebounding list with 1,570 rebounds. With his college degree in his hands, Duncan finally made himself eligible for the 1997 NBA Draft.

The Spurs qualified for the 1998 NBA Playoffs as the fifth seed, but Duncan had a bad first half in his first playoff game against the Phoenix Suns, causing Suns coach Danny Ainge to play Duncan with less defensive pressure. The rookie capitalized on this by finishing Game 1 with 32 points and 10 rebounds and recording 32 points and 10 rebounds in Game 2, contributing to a 3–1 victory over the Suns. However, the Spurs lost in the second round to the eventual Western Conference Champions Utah Jazz. In this series, Duncan was pitted against Hall-of-Fame power forward Karl Malone. Duncan outscored Malone in the first two games which the Spurs lost, but as the series progressed, the more experienced Malone shut Duncan down on defense and dominated on offense, outscoring the young power forward in Games 3 to 5 with 10–18, 22–34 and 14–24.

During the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, the Spurs started with a lackluster 6–8 record and Popovich came under fire from the press. However, Duncan and Robinson stood behind their coach, and finished the season with a 31–5 run. The sophomore averaged 21.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.5 blocks in the regular season, making both the All-NBA and All-Defense First Teams. In the 1999 NBA Playoffs, the Spurs defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 3–1, swept the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers 4–0, and defeated the Cinderella story New York Knicks 4–1 in the Finals. In this series, a large contingent of Virgin Islanders flew over to support their local hero, and were not disappointed. In the first two games, the "Twin Towers" outscored their Knicks counterparts Chris Dudley/Larry Johnson with 41 points, 26 rebounds and nine blocks versus five points, 12 rebounds and zero blocks. After a Game 3 loss in which Duncan was held scoreless in the third quarter and committed three turnovers in the last quarter, Duncan rebounded with 28 points and 18 rebounds in a Game 4 win, and in Game 5, the Spurs protected a 78–77 lead seconds from the end with the ball in the Knicks' possession. Double teamed by Duncan and Robinson, Knicks swingman Latrell Sprewell missed a last-second desperation shot, and after closing out the series with a strong 31-point and 9-rebound showing in Game 5, Duncan was named Finals MVP, bringing San Antonio their first-ever NBA championship.

In the 1999–2000 season, Duncan further cemented his reputation. He averaged 23.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.2 blocks per game, earned another pair of All-NBA and All-Defense First Team call-ups, and was co-MVP with Shaquille O'Neal of the NBA All-Star Game. However, the Spurs had a disappointing post-season. Duncan injured his meniscus shortly before the end of the regular season and was unable to play in even one post-season game. Consequently, the Spurs were eliminated in the first round of the 2000 NBA Playoffs, losing 3–1 to the Phoenix Suns. Nonetheless, Duncan rebounded in the next season, and with strong regular-season averages of 22.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.3 blocks, earned himself yet another pair of All-NBA and All-Defensive First Team call-ups. In the 2001 NBA Playoffs, the Spurs eliminated the Timberwolves 3–1, defeated the Dallas Mavericks 4–1, but then bowed out against the Lakers led by superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, losing in four straight games. Sports Illustrated described the series as a "erciless mismatch", and Duncan was criticized as "silent when the Spurs need him most".

On the back of two consecutive playoff disappointments, Duncan improved statistically in the 2001–02 season. He averaged career highs in scoring (25.5 points per game, including a league-leading 764 field goals and 560 attempted free throws) and rebounding (12.7 boards per game, and his cumulated 1042 boards again led the league), and also averaged 3.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game, both personal NBA high scores. Coupled with another pair of All-NBA and All-Defensive First Team call-ups, he was named the league's Most Valuable Player, joining teammate David Robinson as the only Spurs members to earn the honor. On the other hand, Duncan's team struggled with the fact that the aging Robinson was no longer able to sustain his level of performance, and backup center-forward Malik Rose had to step in more often. In the 2002 NBA Playoffs, the Spurs were outmatched by the Lakers. Up against star center O'Neal once more, the Spurs were defeated 4–1 by the eventual champions. Duncan, who managed 34 points and a franchise-high 25 rebounds in Game 5, stated his frustration: "I thought we really had a chance at this series. The Lakers proved to be more than we could handle. Again, we had a (heck) of a run at it. We had opportunities to win games and make it a different series, but that's just the way the ball rolls sometimes." Nevertheless, NBA.com praised Duncan as "phenomenal" and criticized his supporting cast, stating Duncan "made 11-of-23 shots and 12-of-14 free throws, adding four assists and two blocks nd once again, he did not have enough help." Also, Robinson said "Tim was like Superman out there", and conceded that the Lakers were simply better, just like in the last playoffs campaign.

The 2002–03 season saw Duncan enjoy another standout season in which he averaged 23.3 points, a career-high 12.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.9 blocks per game, and yet another dual All-NBA and All-Defense First Team call-up, resulting in his second NBA Most Valuable Player Award. At age 38, Robinson announced that year as his last season, and his playing time was cut by coach Popovich to save his energy for the playoffs. The Spurs qualified easily for the playoffs, concluding the regular season as the Conference number one seed with a 60–22 record. Although San Antonio now had new offensive threats in Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili, during the playoffs, it was Duncan's performance in the semi-finals against the Los Angeles Lakers which was singled out for praise by Popovich, who stated: "I thought in Game 5 and Game 6, he was astounding in his focus. He pulled everyone along these last two games." In the series, Duncan was matched up against forward Robert Horry, dominated him the entire series and closed out the series in style; Duncan finished Game 6 with 37 points and 16 rebounds, allowing Spurs coach Popovich to call timeout with 2:26 left to instruct his team not to celebrate excessively. The Spurs made it to the finals, and defeated the New Jersey Nets 88–77 in Game Six to win their second ever NBA championship, denying New Jersey from having both NBA and NHL titles, as the New Jersey Devils had won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the Nets' home court. Helped by an inspired Robinson, Duncan almost recorded a quadruple double in the final game, and was named the NBA Finals MVP. Duncan said of the victory: "We were all confident that something would happen, that we would turn the game to our favor, and it did", but felt sad that Robinson retired after winning his second championship ring. Following this successful Spurs campaign, Robinson and Duncan were named Sports Illustrated's 2003 "Sportsmen of the Year".

Before the 2003–04 season began, the Spurs lost their perennial captain David Robinson to retirement. Embracing the lone team leader role, Duncan led a reformed Spurs team which included Slovenian center Rasho Nesterovič, defensive stalwart Bruce Bowen, Argentinian shooting guard Ginóbili and young French point guard Parker. Coming off the bench were clutch shooting power forward Robert Horry, versatile Hedo Turkoglu and veterans Malik Rose and Kevin Willis. In retrospect, Robinson commented that at first, Duncan was reluctant to step into the void, still needing some time to truly develop his leadership skills. Statistically though, Duncan remained strong; after another convincing season with averages of 22.3 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.7 blocks, he led the Spurs into the Western Conference Semifinals. There, they met the Los Angeles Lakers again, split the series 2–2, and in Game 5, Duncan made a last-second basket which put the Spurs ahead by one point with 0.4 seconds left to play. Despite the little time remaining, Lakers point guard Derek Fisher hit a buzzer beater for an upset Lakers win. In the end, the Spurs lost the series 4–2, and Duncan attributed the strong Lakers defense as one of the reasons for the loss.

Duncan and his Spurs looked to re-assert themselves in the next 2004–05 season. Despite their new captain's slight statistical slump (20.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.6 blocks per game), the Spurs won the second seed for the 2005 NBA Playoffs by winning 59 games. In the first round, the Spurs eliminated the Denver Nuggets four games to one, and met the Seattle SuperSonics in the semi-finals. After splitting the first four games, Duncan led his team to two decisive victories, setting up a meeting with the Phoenix Suns, known for their up-tempo basketball. The Spurs managed to beat the Suns at their own game, defeating them 4–1 and earning a spot in the 2005 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons. In the Finals, Duncan was pitted against Detroit's defensively strong frontcourt anchored by multiple NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace. After two convincing Game 1 and 2 wins for the Spurs, the Pistons double teamed Duncan and forced him to play further from the basket. Detroit won the next two games and the series was eventually tied at 3–3, but Duncan was instrumental in Game 7, recording 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Spurs defeated the Pistons. NBA.com reported that "ith his unique multidimensional talent, Duncan depleted and dissected the Pistons... He was the fulcrum of virtually every key play down the stretch", and coach Popovich added: " complete game is so sound, so fundamental, so unnoticed at times, because if he didn't score, people think, 'Well, he didn't do anything'. But he was incredible and he was the force that got it done for us." Detroit's center Ben Wallace remarked: "He put his team on his shoulders and carried them to a championship hat's what the great players do." Duncan won his third NBA Finals MVP Award, joining Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Magic Johnson as the only players in NBA history to win it three times.

During the 2005–06 season, Duncan suffered from plantar fasciitis for most of the season, which was at least partly responsible for his sinking output (18.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 blocks per game), and also for his failure to make the All-NBA First Team after eight consecutive years. The big man came back strong in the 2006 NBA Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks, where he outscored rival power forward Dirk Nowitzki 32.2 to 27.1 points, with neither Nowitzki nor Mavericks center Erick Dampier able to stop Duncan with their man-to-man defense. But after splitting the first six games, Duncan became the tragic hero of his team in Game 7. Despite scoring 39 points in regulation time and fouling out both Dampier and Keith Van Horn, Duncan only made one of seven field goal attempts in overtime against Mavericks reserve center DeSagana Diop, and the Spurs lost Game 7.

With Duncan being healthy for 78 games and posting typical 20/10 numbers, San Antonio concluded the 2007–08 regular season with a 56–26 record, finishing behind the Lakers and New Orleans Hornets in the Western Conference and setting up themselves for a first-round contest against the Suns. The Suns—defeated by the Spurs in three of the past four seasons of playoffs—were out for revenge and featured a new player in four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal. In Game 1, Duncan set the tone with a 40 point game and a rare three-pointer that sent the game into double overtime. The trio of Duncan, Ginóbili and Parker continued playing to form for the remainder of the series, and the Spurs eliminated the Suns in five games. In the first game of the next around against the Chris Paul-led Hornets, San Antonio were badly defeated 101–82 as Duncan played one of the worst playoff games in his career, recording only 5 points and 3 rebounds. The Spurs dropped the next game as well, but recovered in Games 3 and 4, with Duncan putting up a team-high 22 point/15 rebound/4 block performance in the game that tied the series. Duncan then recorded 20 points and 15 rebounds in Game 6, and the Spurs relied on their experience to seal the series in Game 7. However, arch-rivals Los Angeles Lakers defeated San Antonio in five games in the Conference Finals, and the Spurs once again failed to capture back-to-back NBA championships.

In 1998 Duncan was selected as one of the last two players for the United States national team for the World Basketball Championship. However, this team was later replaced with CBA and college players because of the NBA lockout. Duncan's first chance at playing for the national team came in 1999 when he was called up to the Olympic Qualifying Team. He averaged 12.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2.4 bpg and led the team to a 10–0 finish en route to a qualifying berth for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but a knee injury forced him to stay out of the Olympic Games themselves.

In 2003, Duncan was also a member of the USA team that recorded ten wins and qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympics. He started all the games he played in and averaged team bests of 15.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.56 bpg, while shooting 60.7 percent from the field. At the Olympics itself, the team lost three games on its way to a bronze medal. The record represented more losses in a single year than in the 68 previous years combined. It was also the first time since NBA professionals became eligible that the U.S. men's basketball team returned home without gold medals. After the tournament, Duncan commented, "I am about 95 percent sure my FIBA career is over. I'll try not to share my experiences with anyone." To date, Duncan has been a member of five previous USA Basketball teams and has played in 40 international games.

Duncan starts at the power forward position, but can also play center. With a double-double career average in points and rebounds, he is considered one of the most consistent players in the NBA. He has earned All-NBA and All-Defensive honors every season since his rookie year in 1998 while being a perennial candidate for the Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards. Regarded as one of the league's best interior defenders, Duncan also ranks consistently as one of the top scorers, rebounders and shot-blockers in the league. His main weakness remains his free throw shooting, with a career average of less than 70%.

Apart from his impressive statistics, Duncan has gained a reputation as a good clutch player, as evidenced by his three NBA Finals MVP awards and his playoff career averages being higher than his regular-season statistics. Eleven-time NBA champion Bill Russell further compliments Duncan on his passing ability, and rates him as one of the most efficient players of his generation, a view shared by 19-time NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Because of his versatility and success, basketball experts have spoken of Duncan as one of the greatest power forwards in NBA history, while coach Popovich and team-mates Parker and Ginóbili have also credited much of San Antonio's success to him. Duncan's detractors, however, label him as "boring" because of his simple but effective style of play. Following his first championship ring in 1999, Sports Illustrated described him as a "quiet, boring MVP", a characterization which persists today.

In his basketball career, Duncan has collected a number of individual and team honors, including being a two-time MVP (2002, 2003), four-time NBA champion (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007) and three-time NBA Finals MVP (1999, 2003, 2005). As a college player, he was honored by the House of Representatives, named the ACC Male Athlete of the Year, won the John R. Wooden Award, and was selected as the Naismith College Player of the Year (all 1997). In 2002, Duncan was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men's basketball team honoring the 50 greatest players in ACC history. In his debut year in the NBA (1998), he was voted Rookie of the Year and elected into the All-NBA Rookie Team, made the first of 11 NBA All-Star Teams (ten First Team nominations), 11 All-NBA Teams (nine First Team nominations), and 11 All-Defensive Teams (eight First Team nominations). With these impressive performances, Duncan is one of only four players to receive All-NBA First Team honors in each of his first eight seasons (1998–2005), along with Hall of Famers Bob Pettit (ten seasons), Larry Bird (nine seasons), and Oscar Robertson (nine seasons), and is notably the only player in NBA history to receive All-NBA and All-Defensive honors in his first eleven seasons (1998–2008).

Duncan was also named by the Association for Professional Basketball Research as one of "100 Greatest Professional Basketball Players of The 20th Century", the youngest player on that list. In the 2001–02 season, he won the IBM Player Award and The Sporting News (TSN) MVP Award, becoming the third player to ever win the NBA MVP, IBM Player and TSN Player Awards in the same season. In 2003, Duncan was ranked 55th by Slam Magazine in their list of the Top 75 NBA players of All Time. On February 18, 2006, he was named one of the Next 10 Greatest Players on the tenth anniversary of the release of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team by the TNT broadcasting crew.

Tim Duncan has two older sisters, Cheryl and Tricia. Like their younger brother, they were gifted athletes: Cheryl was a championship swimmer before she became a nurse, and Tricia swam for the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. He married Amy, an ex-cheerleader at Wake Forest University, and the couple had their first child, daughter Sydney, in the summer of 2005, and a second child, a son, during the summer of 2007. Amy oversees the Tim Duncan Foundation, which has been established to serve the areas of health awareness/research, education, and youth sports/recreation in San Antonio, Winston-Salem, and the United States Virgin Islands. The Foundation holds two major fundraisers each year: the annual Tim Duncan Bowling for Dollar$ Charity Bowl-A-Thon and the annual Slam Duncan Charity Golf Classic. Between 2001 and 2002, the Foundation raised more than $350,000 to help fight breast and prostate cancer. In those two years, Duncan was named by Sporting News as one of the "Good Guys" in sports. The Spurs captain also supports the Children's Bereavement Center, the Children's Center of San Antonio and the Cancer Therapy and Research Center.

Duncan cites his late mother Ione as his main inspiration. Among other things, she taught him and his sisters the nursery rhyme "Good, Better, Best. Never let it rest / Until your Good is Better, and your Better is your Best", which he adopted as his personal motto. On and off the court, he believes that the three most important values are dedication, teamwork and camaraderie. The Spurs captain has also stated that he chose #21 for his jersey because that was his brother-in-law's college number, since he was Duncan's main basketball inspiration, and cites Hall-of-Fame Los Angeles Lakers point guard Magic Johnson as his childhood idol.

Regarding his own personality, Duncan compares himself to Will Hunting of the movie Good Will Hunting, which centers around the genial and antagonistic character of Will Hunting, portrayed by Matt Damon. He stated: "I'm just a taller, slightly less hyperactive version of the Damon character in the movie. I really enjoyed how he probed people and found out their weaknesses just by asking questions and stating outlandish remarks." He also admitted shunning the limelight because " is not me". Off the court, he has cited that his best friend is former Spurs colleague Antonio Daniels, who himself describes Duncan as a cheerful, funny person off the hardwood.

Duncan also loves Renaissance fairs and the fantasy role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. An avid video game player, he acknowledges a certain joy of playing "himself" on basketball video games. Duncan states if he had the chance, he would challenge NBA legends Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to a one-on-one game.

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Source : Wikipedia