It’s hard to believe but veteran NBA big man Jermaine O’Neal is close to hanging up the sneakers for good. There have been rumors suggesting the center could retire this offseason and according to the Bay Area News Group, such a decision could be coming in the very near future.
O’Neal, who most recently played for the Golden State Warriors entered the league out of high school back in 1996 as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. Drafted 17th overall, O’Neal struggled to get off the bench given the success of the Blazers which eventually lead him to the Indiana Pacers in 2000.
That’s where Jermaine O’Neal flourished into an All-Star talent, at one point putting up 24 points and nearly 9 rebounds a game during the 2004-05 season.
A storied career with the Pacers eventually led O’Neal to the Toronto Raptors and then Miami Heat before joining the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and his current home – the Golden State Warriors.
Now potentially facing a 19th year in the league, the creaky knees of O’Neal which have plagued the center during the past few seasons may not have enough juice in them to continue going. That’s a decision that O’Neal is going to have to make though after playing 20 minutes per game last season for the Golden State Warriors (though in only 44 contests) there are still some who believe he can be effective off the bench.
If it is the end for O’Neal, he proved himself to be one of the better talents we’ve ever seen come out of high school, even if his career was sandwiched between two stints where he was nothing more than a bench player.