WALTHAM — Sporting a bow tie and a gray pinstripe suit, Shaquille O’Neal sat beside Celtics coach Doc Rivers for his introductory press conference on Wednesday. As forward and new teammate Kevin Garnett and Luke Harangody overlooked the event from a higher level at the Celtics’ practice facility, the center fielded questions and held up his No. 36 jersey as he became the first player in franchise history to wear the number.
“I’m not sure what they’ll call him yet — the Leprechaun, the Green Monster — I’ve heard all these different things,” Rivers said. “The bottom line is we’re looking at Shaq as another piece of the puzzle.”
O'Neal said he would be more than willing to come off the bench as a reserve if that's what it took to fit in with his new team.
“Sometimes in order to win, you have to sacrifice,” said Shaq, who added that at the age of 38, he still has “hunger for the game.”
The Celtics signed O’Neal last week to a two-year contract worth approximately $3 million. In an offseason in which the team looked to add big men with the signing of Jermaine O’Neil and hoped to make up for the MCL and PCL tears suffered by starting center Kendrick Perkins, Rivers was glad to bring Shaq into the fold. O’Neal, a 15-time All-Star, has totaled 28,555 points and 12,921 rebounds over his 18-year career between the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, and Cavaliers. His numbers put him fifth and 14th on the all-time lists for points and rebounds, respectively.
For complete coverage of Shaq's introduction to Boston, visit the WEEI.com/celtics page.
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