One is measured in hands, while the other, in feet. One towered over his opponents with unprecedented size and strength; the other beats his foes with speed and courage. One's career has just begin to reach it's zenith, as the other bids farewell to a Hall of Fame career. No matter how you spell it, they are simply two shacks passing in the night, with the commonality of bringing excitement and thrills to sports fans everywhere.
The news hit like a proverbial ton of bricks last night as the taller Shaq announced the end to his long and successful career via Twitter. His message said only this: 'im retiring video' attached with a link to the 16 second video. The announcement was short and sweet and lasts just longer than it takes the much younger Shack to speed a furlong against the best three-year-old colts in America.
For the 39-year-old Shaq, his retirement comes as no great surprise, but still when a living legend finally decides to call it quits, it is always a bittersweet moment filled with recollections. Shaq proved to be a big man for the ages. After an awesome college career at LSU, Shaq has played 19 years in the NBA and amassed quite the resume, with 4 championships, 15 All-Star Game appearances, 3 Finals MVPs, and one league MVP. He also stockpiled the stat sheet, totaling 28,596 career points, 13,099 career rebounds and 2,732 blocked shots. Large gym shoes to fill even for a classic winning one thousand plus pound thoroughbred.
While the two-legged Shaq leaves the 94 foot playground to pursue alternative avenues, it will be the Shack with a tail who is set to test himself in the longest and most difficult test of his career in next week's Belmont Stakes. 12 furlongs over Big Sandy is never easy for the toughest of horses, and for a confirmed frontrunner, it may seem even more daunting, but the equine Shack is no average speedster. The inexperienced son of Forestry has taken things to a whole new exciting level in his last three races. First as a super long shot in the Florida Derby, he led all the way to the very last jump before stubbornly relinquishing his advantage to Dialed In. In the Kentucky Derby he led the field on a merry chase before holding well to finish a competitive 4th. He got his big win in the Preakness when he pressed fast fractions, before spurting away early in the stretch to nab racing's Middle Jewel. Now, it appears it is on the Belmont for the horse the call Shack.
To the bearded Shaq, I say goodbye and thanks for the memories. To the much faster Shack, I say continued good luck on your career at the racetrack, I will be watching. I am a fan of both of you.