Without the speed of younger days, that combined with his massive build to make him an almost unstoppable force, the 38-year-old centre who has won four NBA titles, has struggled to find his place in the NBA in recent seasons and is a free agent.
“International? No,” O’Neal said. “I know I will play in the NBA next season.”
“Shaq”, in Florida to promote his reality television series, said he hopes to know by the end of the week where he will play next season.
“It has been a real thinking process,” O’Neal said. “I came into the league very graciously and want to go out very graciously.
“My main thought was I would like to play for a winning franchise, somebody that’s used to winning, somebody that keeps winning. Hopefully, I’ll make my decision here in the next one or two days.”
O’Neal, who won three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and another with the Miami Heat, played last season with Cleveland but has all-but ruled out a move with two-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James to the Miami Heat.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, another Cleveland centre from last season, has already signed with the Heat. Contemplating the notion of retirement, O’Neal said he expected to go out with grace and an epic party with a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame likely to follow.
“The good thing about me and my career is I came in, did it my way, did more than expected,” he said. “For every athlete or every great person, there’s a time when it has to end. When and if it ever ends it will be very graciously.
“We’re going to have a big party. We’re going to have a ceremony and the next thing I’ll be waiting for is the entrance into the place where your name will never be forgotten.”