Shaq says he retired too early as Wilt Chamberlain legacy frustrates him

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Shaquille O'Neal, speaking in an interview with Esquire magazine, has admitted he regrets retiring from the NBA too early.

Too soon

The future Hall of Famer enjoyed one of the most successful careers ever in the league before walking away from the hardwood back in 2011, but now feels like he quit the sport at least one year too early.

After admitting he should have seen out his two-year deal with the Boston Celtics, Shaq cited one particular reason, involving fellow great Wilt Chamberlain, as to why he wished he'd stayed on for another round of 82 games.


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"Did I retire too early? Yes. I had a two-year deal with Boston. I was going to play that year out. I was going to do a tour, have an area show. I went out a year too early and I didn't have a clue what I was going to do," explained the former Los Angeles Lakers star.


Shaq went on to explain how he left himself in a difficult situation by accelerating his exit from the NBA. But, whilst he has landed on his feet as a businessman and TV personality since, it is an opportunity he left behind that appears to irk him the most.

"From a personal standpoint, I wanted to pass up Wilt Chamberlain. I don't like when people say there's two dominant players. I wanted to pass him up so I could arrogantly say, "I'm the most dominant guy in the world. Nobody else. Don't even mention him."

"In sports, people always go to their championship laurels. Wilt only has one, and I had four at the time. If I had passed him up in points, I would've gone on TV and said, "I'm the most dominant big man ever." But he's still 1,500 to 2,000 points ahead of me."

In fact, Shaq's 28,596 points is almost 3,000 behind the great Wilt Chamberlain, who sits fifth on the all-time list with 31,419 so he might have needed more than just one season to pass his fellow Laker legend.

With current Lakers hero Kobe Bryant appearing close to calling time on his own glittering career, perhaps Shaq's words should act as a warning. 

NBA fans: Was Shaq better than Chamberlain, and could he have carried on for longer? Have your say in the comments below...

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