CLEVELAND, July 3 – Shaquille O'Neal says he wants to play another three years in the National Basketball Association and use that time to help Cleveland win a championship and end the city's title drought."Win a ring for The King," said O’Neal regarding playing with the league’s most valuable player LeBron James.
"I won’t be the guy by myself. Even though I have four rings it is going to take a team to get it done. We have all the pieces here. We will be ready."
O’Neal is seeking his fifth NBA title and third with a different team. He won three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.
The 37-year-old O’Neal didn’t get the job done with his most recent team Phoenix but says he is up for the challenge of trying to win with James.
"They say things happen in threes," O’Neal said. "I won with Kobe (Bryant) and with the great Dwyane Wade."
The Suns traded the 15-time all-star to Cleveland in exchange for centre Ben Wallace, guard Sasha Pavlovic, Cleveland’s second-round pick in the 2010 NBA entry draft and an undetermined amount of cash.
O’Neal, who is in the final year of his contract, is not the dominant force he was early in his career. He captured the MVP award in 2000 and was the NBA finals MVP with the Lakers from 2000-02.
O’Neal averaged 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in 75 games with Phoenix who did not make the playoffs.
Cleveland posted the best regular season record in the league (66-16). They are hoping O’Neal can help them get them over the playoff hump and provide an answer for power centres like Orlando’s Dwight Howard. The Cavs were eliminated from this year’s playoffs by Howard’s Magic in six games.
"LeBron’s not going to do it by himself," O’Neal stated. "I’m just here to do my part and help a damn good team get over the hump. It’s LeBron’s team. I’m here. He’s the captain. I’m here to protect The King."
O’Neal, who has played 17 NBA seasons with Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami and Phoenix, has averaged 24.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He has won two league scoring titles and won the rookie of the year award.
Cleveland hopes O’Neal can help the city break its championship drought. The Ohio city hasn’t won an American sports championship since 1964, the year the gridiron Browns won the National Football League title.
"I’ll fit in just fine," he said. "They had a damn good team here already."