After a wonderful 18 years in the NBA, veteran Jermaine O’Neal may be finally calling it quits. Nothing is set in stone yet, but O’Neal is getting up there in age, and although he may have some gas in the tank, he may also want to sit back and enjoy the life of a retired NBA player for a little bit.
O’Neal has career averages of 13.2 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, and 1.8 blocks per game. His best days were with the Indiana Pacers, where he made several All-Star appearances and made a good case for jersey retirement. After all of these accolades and honors, O’Neal may go out without a championship, much like former teammate Reggie Miller.
According to CSN’s Monte Poole, O’Neal is very emotional.
These eight months with the Warriors had altered O’Neal’s mood, brightened his outlook not only toward basketball and the NBA but also toward kinship and the glorious and maddening complexities within. The catch in his voice was audible, the lump in his throat visible. And when he sensed moisture starting to well beneath his eyes, he paused to prevent a flood.
I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty moving and pretty explanatory. From all indicators, it looks to me as if O’Neal has finally finished his long career in the NBA, and from a Warrior fans’ POV, I say thank you to Jermaine for all he has done this season. It may not have been the way that he wanted to finish, going out in the first round, but it was a good run in the end.
O’Neal finished his interview saying,
“I appreciate what the fan base has done for me, giving me love for basketball again. I appreciate what coach Jackson has done for me. I appreciate what the owners have done for me.