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Shaquille O’Neal Explains Why He’s ‘Jealous’ of Dwyane Wade’s Farewell Tour
- Updated: September 20, 2018
“I’m jealous,” O’Neal told the Sun Sentinel. “I’m jealous right now. I wanted the whole farewell tour.”
Wade announced Sunday that he will be returning to South Beach for one last season before he hangs it up.
O’Neal compared the 12-time All-Star to some of the greatest players of all time, calling his former teammate one of the best to ever play the shooting guard position.
“I remember watching Kareem’s and Magic’s and Bird’s farewell tour,” O’Neal said. “Every great, historic player deserves one. D-Wade is a historic player. And there’s a lot of barbershop talk of him being the second- or the third-best two-guard in the game. And when you bring his name up, there’s nobody even close, as far as three, four, five, six and all that. So he is one of the top two-guards to play the game.
“I’m happy for him that he can have this farewell tour, especially here in Wade County.”
O’Neal did not get the same fanfare on his way out because an injury-riddled 2010-11 season with the Boston Celtics forced him into retirement. He played in just 37 games that year, averaging a career-low 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
O’Neal told the Sun Sentinel he is glad Wade will be able to get the accolades he deserves.
“He’s one of the best two-guards to ever play the game,” he said. “He came in quietly, worked his way up to become one of the best players ever. His story is similar to Kawhi Leonard.
“He wasn’t really talked about coming in. His name was mentioned in the draft, but you had a lot of other guys that were talked about a little bit more than he was and he just quietly made a name for himself. The funny thing is, before I came to Miami, I never knew who he was. I don’t think I played against Miami that year, so I’d never seen him, never heard of him, and we were out of the playoffs and they were in the playoffs, and like then, ‘Who is this kid?’ So when it came time for me to make a move, I know I needed somebody who was as good as Kobe, or close, that I could bring to the next level. So I chose to come [to Miami]. I think it was one of my better business decisions ever.”
Wade led the Heat to three NBA championships in 2006, 2012, and 2013 while earning himself All-Star honors 12 times. He spent most of his 15 seasons in the league with the Heat, with brief stints with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wade signed a minimum contract to return to Miami for “one last dance” with the Heat.