For which teams did Shaquille Oneal play

Shaq Attack no longer dots

Miami-Shaquille O'Neal has drawn an end to his terrific basketball career after 19 years. The beefy center was one of the most popular players in the North American basketball league NBA. In its heyday, it dominated the baskets like no other.

"That's it. 19 years old, baby. I want to thank you all," said O'Neal in a video message on a website: "You'll find out first: I'm going to quit."

The 2.16 meter tall and almost 150 kilogram heavy center came into the league in 1992, played for six teams, was champion four times, one MVP and, with 28,596 points, ranks fifth in the NBA's all-time best list.

"I will miss the competition, the hunt for the title, everything," said O'Neal. He led the Los Angeles Lakers to the "triple" from 2000 to 2002 and was voted the most valuable player in all three final series.

The 39-year-old is one of the most popular basketball players in NBA history. "We're going to miss him. What a great career for Shaq Diesel. The strongest guy who ever played basketball. He was fun to hang out with - it was non-stop comedy," said LeBron James. "He's a giant and we'll miss him," added NBA Commissioner David Stern.

After an argument with Kobe Bryant, O'Neal moved to the Miami Heat in 2004 and won the NBA title again two years later against the Dallas Mavericks with the Florida team. In the summer, "Shaq" signed a two-year contract with the Boston Celtics.

Due to acute Achilles tendon problems, O'Neal only played 37 games in Boston. The 90:98 home defeat of the Celtics in the quarterfinals on May 9 against Miami was his last appearance. With his face contorted with pain, he dragged himself across the parquet for 3:31 minutes without attracting much attention. The doctor had advised against him, O'Neal countered: "If the Achilles tendon tears, then it just tears."

O'Neal was popular not only on the floor but also outside of it. He was successful as a rapper, passed his deputy sheriff exam and has been traveling the cities for 15 years as "Shaq-a-Claus" for the charity "Toys for Tots" (toys for children). "He was a joy to play with, a lifetime experience. He was like my big brother from another mother," said Boston's Kevin Garnett.

The Los Angeles Lakers immediately announced that they will no longer be awarding jersey number 34. O'Neal's Jersey will hang under the ceiling of the Staples Center in the future - next to those of the Lakers legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, among others. (APA)