After keeping Cavs fans waiting for nearly a week, the Cleveland Cavaliers officially introduced Shaquille O’Neal to the city of Cleveland. The press conference was held at the Cleveland Clinic Courts as O’Neal joined Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry and Head Coach Mike Brown for Q &A.
I have to say that I was skeptical at first about how much O’Neal wanted to be here. But after today’s conference and the way he presented himself to the city of Cleveland I have to choke out the words “I was wrong”. It’s clear that O’Neal is very excited about making a run for an NBA championship with Lebron James and company. O’Neal went on to refer to the Cavaliers as a “Damn good team” multiple times throughout today’s press conference.
When asked what it would mean to be the guy to put Cleveland over the top, O’Neal responded by saying “I’m not going to do it by myself, Lebron’s not going to do it by himself. It’s going to take a team, a community, a family that will get the job done.”.
And just when you think that Shaq’s stay in Cleveland may only be for a year think again. O’Neal said that he would love an extension at the end of the season, but he came here to win a champion ship and that’s his main goal.
When it came down to Lebron remaining in Cleveland, Shaq said “In a perfect world, if we win it takes care of business and he has no choice but to stay here….It’s something we shouldn’t worry about.”
“I don’t really consider myself a superstar…” O’Neal says. “Everyone knows this is LeBron’s team. I’m not trying to come in and change that. … I’m now in the security business. My job is to protect the King and that’s what I’m here to do.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard O’Neal talk so highly of a teammate like he did today. O’Neal went on about how he knew that James was special when he first saw James play his freshman year at St. Mary/ St. Vincent’s. And even went on to say that Lebron, along with Tim Duncan, is the smartest player in the game. And that he is honored to play with “the great Lebron James”.
As expected O’Neal was questioned about his physical condition and was asked if he could be effective in Cleveland’s style of play. O’Neal responded by saying “I’m able to play any style. I’m not here to demand 40 or 50 shots. Just thirty (laughing). I’m just coming in to do my part.”
There’s no doubt that today’s press conference brings much hope to Cleveland, who hasn’t won a championship since 1964.