There was a nice piece in the Boston Globe about Jermaine O’Neal this morning. My favorite part was this:
“There’s no ego, and it’s hard to find no egos,’’ O’Neal said. “As good as individual players are, especially when I look at a situation like Miami, none of those guys had to really deal with sacrificing.
“That’s how I see it.’’
“That’s what made Boston more intriguing for me and a situation I thought would be better for me. These guys [in Miami] are all really good individual guys that are used to shooting 20 times a night just last year. These are all young guys.
“So no matter what you say or how you say it, they’re going to still want the credit. But I know the Boston Celtics aren’t about that.’’
With Shaquille O’Neal, Glen Davis, and (when he returns) Kendrick Perkins, the frontcourt is crowded in Boston. But with a title as a realistic goal for the first time, O’Neal said he’s more than willing to accept a role.
After 14 years in the NBA, he has experienced the highs the league has to offer. He’s after the feeling Pierce had two years ago.
“That’s self-validation,’’ O’Neal said. “That helps me think, ‘OK, you know what, Jermaine, everything you went through, every good moment, every bad moment, every issue that basketball has caused, strife it’s caused to your family, to your friendships, to your relationships, to your business, whatever it may be, this validates going through that.’
“That’s how I see it.’’
Jermaine O’Neal’s a guy who had his choice between signing with the Celtics or the Heat. Judging from the Globe’s article and the fact that he has zero rings on his fingers, O’Neal desperately wants a title. Yet he chose Boston over Miami.
The inner skeptic in me wants to say O’Neal relocated for money (the mid-level was more than Miami could offer), but O’Neal was one of the league’s three highest-paid players last season. He’s made more money during his career than I could ever dream of, more than any normal human being (sorry Antoine) could spend in a lifetime. He didn’t need a few extra million dollars. He’s made his money and accomplished everything in the NBA but an MVP trophy and a ring. The MVP isn’t coming, so I’d imagine O’Neal’s only motivation for signing in Boston is a title.
And he chose Boston over Miami.
Here’s hoping he never regrets it.
P.S. – Read the Globe’s article. Now.
P.P.S. – O’Neal also said he used to go to Isiah Thomas’s house and “be a sponge” while the two talked. Warning to NBA front offices: don’t ever hire Jermaine O’Neal.