Why Shaquille O’Neal Believes He ‘Robbed’ Celtics In Final NBA Season

Shaquille O’Neal had an amazing NBA career. It just didn’t end how he envisioned.
O’Neal signed a two-year contract with the Celtics before the 2010-11 season, as he wanted to play alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett while ultimately enjoying a farewell tour in which his storied career was celebrated in venues across the league. The popular big man, who was 38 at the time, suffered various injuries, though, preventing him from playing up to his full potential with Boston, which is something he regrets in hindsight.

“Had the career-ending injury. Said to myself, ‘I’m old. I don’t wanna do the whole rehab thing and try to be the great Shaq player,’ ” O’Neal recalled in a recent interview with Kristine Leahy on FS1’s “Fair Game.” “Because one thing I am with myself, I’m honest. I’m Shaq, but I’m not Shaq (in 2010-11). Shaq is not Shaq when he’s averaging seven, eight, nine points (per game). That’s not Shaq. I can still entertain and do stuff to make people giggle, but that’s not Shaq. I’m robbing the people. I’m robbing the Celtics. ‘You’re only paying me a million (dollars). I don’t feel right. I’m not coming back. Here’s your money back, sir. Thank you very much.’ ”

As someone who was accustomed to stuffing the stat sheet, O’Neal struggled with the reality that his numbers were diminishing due to several factors, including age, health, role and deteriorating skills. Thus, he walked away from basketball after the 2010-11 campaign — without the farewell tour he desperately wanted — while the Celtics picked up the pieces from a second-round playoff exit at the hands of the Miami Heat.
“I’m used to parades and banners and making people complain to the refs and making people say, ‘Oh, we’re playing against Shaq. I don’t want to play tonight.’ That’s what I want to be remembered as,” O’Neal said. “And growing up in that military family, my father said, ‘You always gotta look a man or woman in their face and be honest.’ And I felt like I was robbing them. I didn’t feel right. (Then-Celtics coach) Doc (Rivers) told me when I came in, he said ‘We’re not gonna need you to do much. Just rebound.’ And I accepted it, I said, ‘OK.’
“I was ring chasing, I’ll be honest. I was ring chasing. We did (have a chance to win a title). I think if I wouldn’t have gotten hurt and I think if they would have kept (Kendrick) Perkins, I definitely think we could have won. I was ring chasing. I really was. I wanted to help Paul, because Paul was one of my favorite players, and I love KG. So I wanted to play with them, come and do all I can to help them get (another ring); it would be No. 5 for me. And that’s what I was trying to do. I said, ‘OK, I’ve got four (rings). Just let me go try to play with a couple of teams, stack the deck, see what I can do.’ But I didn’t feel right — six points, eight points, nine points. I did what I did, got acclimated with the city, worked hard. And Boston is a town where they appreciate when you work hard. They saw that I was giving it my all. They knew that. And so when I tore my Achilles and (Celtics president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) said, ‘We want you to come back,’ I was like ‘(shakes head).’
“I felt like I was robbing them. I could’ve took the 1.5 (million dollars) and did the six months (rehab) and tried to come back, but no, I don’t want to waste people’s time. Take the 1.5 (million dollars) and see if you can get you another player, somebody better. But the only thing I regret about that is I wanted the farewell tour.”
O’Neal, a 15-time All-Star, averaged 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in 37 contests with Boston. His performance was a far cry from his heyday with the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers and, to a lesser extent, the Miami Heat, but he at least acknowledges the brief tenure for the disaster it proved to be.

Celtics’ Carsen Edwards Shares Special Bond With Patriots’ Ja’Whaun Bentley

CANTON, Mass. — Carsen Edwards enters his first training camp with the Boston Celtics as a high-scoring rookie from Purdue, but he’s had some help getting adjusted to the New England lifestyle from a fellow pro athlete in the area.
Patriots linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley is a close friend of Edwards’ from their time at Purdue. Their ties extend long before Edwards was drafted by the Celtics, but since then, Bentley has helped the guard’s adjustment to his new life.

“Ja’Whaun Bentley, man. I don’t even consider him a friend, I consider him a brother,” Edwards said Monday at media day. “It’s not even just sports, we talk about life. Just things that make us happy, things like that. It’s way more than just the game. I’ll ask him questions about how he was as a rookie and just kind of him feeling it out and getting to where he is now. But we also just try to find things to do with our free time and I guess for me just learning everything from a new perspective and him being there for me and helping me in all sorts of ways.”
Edwards should provide Boston with a quality scoring punch off the bench, giving them some nice backcourt depth as they enter the 2019-20 season.
The Celtics begin training camp on Tuesday at the Auerbach Center.

Former Red Sox Player On Cubs’ ‘Broad List’ Of Manager Candidates

The Joe Maddon era has come to an end in Chicago.
After a five-year stint that delivered the Cubs their first World Series championship in 108 years in 2016, the team has decided to part ways with the 65-year-old manager after a disappointing season that saw the club finish 84-78 and miss the playoffs for the first time in Maddon’s tenure.

The search for a replacement obviously is in its infancy, but team president Theo Epstein was able to confirm one person as a potential candidate for the opening — former Red Sox catcher David Ross.

Theo Epstein confirms that David Ross is on their "broad list" of candidates for manager.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) September 30, 2019

Ross spent two seasons in Boston, helping the team claim their third World Series title in nine years in 2013. He finished his career with the Cubs and a was a key clubhouse piece to Chicago’s title in 2016.
It’s important to note that with several potential candidates with teams still in the postseason hunt, Epstein is unable to talk much about the search process. Ross, meanwhile, was brought in as an analyst by ESPN following his retirement. He has not coached at the professional level. It’s safe to say that Ross may be a long shot for the job. But there certainly is precedent for former players going straight from TV to the dugout — Aaron Boone and Alex Cora (who served as a bench coach before becoming manager in Boston) as the two biggest examples.

Celtics’ Romeo Langford Shares Update On Recovery From Hand Injury

CANTON, Mass. — When Boston Celtics training camp begins Tuesday, Romeo Langford will be a full go.
The Celtics’ first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft had been dealing with a hand injury suffered last fall. He got surgery right after his college season ended, then rehabbed it through the summer, missing summer league as a result.

But during media day Monday, Langford indicated he is 100 percent.
“My hand is 100 percent, I don’t feel any pain with it,” Langford said. “It’s been a real good adjustment coming back from it, also working out now with no restrictions. I feel like I’m getting better every day this summer, getting back to being ready for training camp.
“I feel a lot more confident, just being able to play without anything on my thumb. I was worried about something being on my hand while I’m shooting, but now I’m feeling back to normal. It feels a lot more normal now.”
Provided he plays, the Celtics will get their first look at Langford in game action Sunday in a preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Jaylen Brown Shares New Mantra Heading Into Celtics Training Camp

CANTON, Mass. — Jaylen Brown isn’t letting expectations take over his mindset heading into the 2019-20 season.
The second-longest tenured Boston Celtic is focused on the here and now, rather than looking down the road. The latter forced Boston into some trouble last season, and it’s clear Brown is looking to avoid that this year.

“I don’t think there are any expectations I really want to put on it,” he said Monday at the team’s media day. “My mantra for myself and for my teammates is to just come out and hoop. Just come out and play basketball and get better every single day and see where that takes us.
Brown being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 draft feels like yesterday, but he’s suddenly thrust into a bit of a leadership role with this year’s team. He’s been through plenty of changes during his time in Boston, so the California product isn’t worried moving forward.
“I’ve been here, what, four seasons now, including the summer, but I’ve learned and grew a lot in many different roles. Probably almost every role pretty much since I’ve been here,” Brown added. “I think I’ve grown a lot. I started out as an 18-year-old and now I’ll be 23 next month. The journey has been kind of crazy, but it’s been good.”
Of course, the uncertainty surrounding Brown’s contract situation continues to grab the headlines surrounding the wing. He’s eligible for his rookie extension prior to the start of this season, but it’s more than likely that the Celtics will elect to wait it out until next offseason, as they’ve done with so many others in the past.
He downplayed the contract talks during media day, but it’s clear Brown is ready to put last season in the rear view heading into training camp.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown Not Worrying About Uncertain Contract Situation

CANTON, Mass. — The Boston Celtics seldom hand out rookie extensions, and it doesn’t appear Jaylen Brown will be bucking that trend.
Brown, who is entering his fourth NBA season, is eligible for extension, but the Celtics reportedly don’t plan to offer that to him. Should it indeed pan out that way, Brown will enter the upcoming offseason as a restricted free agent.

When asked Monday at media day how he feels about the contract situation, Brown emphasized he wasn’t sweating it.
“To be honest, I’m not putting too much thought into it, not losing any sleep over it. I think stuff like that ends up working itself out,” Brown said. “I’m just focused on the season and playing basketball and that’s my No. 1 emphasis. Let the chips fall where they may.”
Given the roster turnover this offseason for the Celtics, Brown has a chance to again become a key player in Boston’s rotation. Last season he didn’t handle the pressure all that well, but he, much like his teammates, must be enjoying the fresh start they’ve been given.

Watch Patriots’ Locker Room Celebration After Gritty Win Against Bills

New England Patriots fans might have been underwhelmed by Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills, but the players and coaches certainly were pleased with the effort put forth at New Era Field.
The Patriots battled to a 16-10 victory over their AFC East rival, who look far more competent than they have in years past. After the game, New England head coach Bill Belichick praised his players for earning a tough road win.

Follow the link in the tweet below to watch the Patriots’ latest locker room celebration:

"Let's keep fighting, let's keep believing."
Inside the locker room after yesterday's win in Buffalo: https://t.co/riTv4kZseh
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 30, 2019

So, when will we receive a break from these videos?
Probably not next week, as the 4-0 Patriots are set to face the 0-4 Washington Redskins.

With Miserable Season Behind Them, Celtics Detail Lessons They Can Apply In 2019-20

CANTON, Mass. — Starting Tuesday, the 2018-19 Boston Celtics season likely will really be in the past.
But for one final day, the Celtics had to answer questions about what went wrong last season.
The Celtics on Monday held media day for the upcoming campaign, and unsurprisingly the woeful 2018-19 run was among the topics of conversation. But everyone who was asked about it did not shy away from discussing how they can apply those lessons to the upcoming season.
“I think you learn that nothing’s just going to be given to you in this league,” Gordon Hayward said. “I think a lot of people kind of just handed us a trip to the finals and thought we were going to walk our way into the Eastern Conference Finals. And that’s obviously not the case and didn’t happen, and certainly there’s a lot more to basketball than just looking at who’s on the team.
“I think some intangible things we didn’t do as good of a job last year,” Hayward added. “But individually every one of us had a lot to think about this summer, a lot to learn from, what we could do better. And certainly we’ll use that as motivation for myself to be a lot better player during this offseason, making sure that I was getting my work in. I think we’re all looking forward to this season, kind of that fresh start feel, but you kind of have that at each and every season. But a lot of new faces, a lot of young guys, so I know we’re all looking forward to it.”
As for Jayson Tatum, he used the summer to reflect.
I think that’s the best thing that happened last year, the teaching experience. Especially for me, just being young and in my second year, it’s something I can look back on and ask myself what I could have done better and try to apply it to the upcoming season. You can’t change what happened in the past, you can only worry about what’s next.”
Head coach Brad Stevens has been candid about the 18-19 team’s trails and tribulations, and he tackled them again Monday.
“I just think all that I’ve always thought and believed about the game has just been reinforced, and we’re looking forward to getting to work,” Stevens said. “Every team is its own entity so every team has its own needs, I said last week this team will have to play a little bit differently on both sides of the ball than we have. Not enormously differently, but we’ll have to do little things here and there.
“Our focus over the next couple weeks is just getting ready to play with the right effort and togetherness, that’s it. At the end of the day, that will give us the chance to be the best version of ourselves, and obviously at the end of the season that’s what you want to be able to point to. I like this team, I like their work ethic, they’ve done a great job of earning the right to practice well, to start a season well, but there’s a lot of things ahead, and we’re looking forward to getting started.”
Semi Ojeleye already admitted the vibe around the team facility is different, so it seems clear that each player (especially the returning ones) are cherishing the fresh start.

Celtics’ Tacko Fall Looks To Continue Improvements Entering Training Camp

CANTON, Mass. — Tacko Fall could very well be the most sought-after storyline heading into Boston Celtics training camp.
It feels a bit odd, especially considering the Celtics boast a fresh roster led by All-NBA point guard Kemba Walker. But Fall quickly became a phenomenon at Las Vegas Summer League, and upon signing an Exhibit 10 contract with Boston, became a lock for fan favorite.

The 7-foot-7 big man enters training camp competing for the Celtics’ 15th and final roster spot with the likes of Javonte Green, Kaiser Gates, Tremont Waters and Yante Maten. Fall on Monday told reporters at media day that he’s happy with the progress he’s made this summer, while looking forward to improving upon that development this week at camp.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better, especially at understanding the game and the way they play in the NBA,” Fall said. “The coaches have really done a great job trusting me with that and I really made a good choice in staying here all summer. Even being around some of the guys and watching them has really helped me.”
Fall notably pointed out Enes Kanter as someone who’s had an impact on his time around the Celtics so far this summer.
“Enes is the type of person that I always want to be around because he has such a positive aura around him and is such a great person with the biggest heart,” he added
Time will tell if Fall makes the Celtics’ opening night roster, but if he doesn’t, it’s more than likely that he’ll end up on another NBA team. His agent reportedly has reiterated this to the team, noting that someone would take a flier on him if he does end up on the open market.
Fall is on an Exhibit 10 deal, which can be converted into a fully-guaranteed contract. But if Boston wants to send him to the Maine Red Claws, the center will have to go through waivers, where it’s unlikely he’ll go unclaimed.
Boston begins training camp on Tuesday at the Auerbach Center.

Bruins Opening Night 50/50 Raffle To Benefit Special Olympics Massachusetts

The Bruins kick off the 2019-20 regular season come Thursday, but it’s next week’s home-opener that’ll truly have Boston bumping.
After a recent facelift, TD Garden is ready to welcome the Bruins and the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, Oct. 12 for Boston’s first home game of the new season. The Opening Night Jackpot 50/50 raffle will support Special Olympics Massachusetts, and fans can buy tickets online.
Simply purchase raffle tickets here to give yourself a chance to win. The winner will be selected at the start of the third period of the home opener against the Devils.
There’s a $50,000 guarantee with this pot, so don’t miss out on your chance to win!