74 Reasons to Get Excited for the 74th NBA Season: Reason 55

Reason 55: Who will take the torch as the next NBA legendary center?

The 2011-12 season will mark the first year the NBA will be without the great Shaquille O’Neal. The legendary, one-of-a-kind center was drafted out of LSU by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. Obviously whenever a player is drafted No. 1, there will be high expectations. Well Shaq met those expectations few and far between. O’Neal won four NBA championships while playing for six different NBA teams. Most notably were his seasons with the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat, playing alongside stars Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. Some of his accolades are winning Rookie of the Year, being named a 15-time All-Star, three NBA Finals MVP awards, and two scoring titles. O’Neal was the go-to big man in the post for years, who would always do the dirty work to get his team the victory. The man is an overall “character” as described by teammates and coaches. He acted in movies and commercials, appeared in music videos, recored rap albums, and has about 20 different nicknames (The Diesel, Superman, The Big Daddy, etc.). I mean Aaron Carter dedicated a song about “How he beat Shaq.” That was just a song though, remember that.

So now the question is, who will step up and become the next great NBA center? Some names that come to the mind of NBA fans are Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Pao Gasol, or maybe (knock on wood he stays healthy) Greg Oden. Although many of these great players are young, it will be a great task living up to “Wilt Chamberneezy’s” numbers. The 2012 NBA season will be the first year to see who will step up to the plate in the absence of Shaq.

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