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Shaq arrives in Miami
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Old 21 Jul 2004, 12:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Shaq arrives in Miami

Diesel front and center on Miami landscape

MIAMI -- Several thousand fans were waiting Tuesday at the Miami Heat's arena when Shaquille O'Neal arrived in the cab of a semi-tractor, pulling a trailer with the words "Diesel Power" on the side.

O'Neal climbed out, used a plastic water cannon to douse fans and walked along a red carpet to the steps leading to the entrance of the AmericanAirlines Arena, where he pledged that another celebration is in the Heat's future.

"Remember this -- I'm going to bring a championship to Miami," O'Neal said. "I promise."

The Heat held the rally to welcome O'Neal six days after acquiring him in a trade that sent three starters to the Los Angeles Lakers.


In a 10-minute ceremony, O'Neal received keys to both the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County from Mayors Manny Diaz and Alex Penelas, respectively.


Penelas, who is more than a foot shorter than the 7-foot-1 O'Neal, stood on a chair so they were eye-to-eye during the presentation.

At a news conference inside the arena that followed, O'Neal said he enjoyed his arrival.

"I told my wife when I was rolling up, I felt like the president," he said. O'Neal then hummed "Hail to the Chief."


After differences with Kobe Bryant and Lakers management led to the trade, O'Neal said he appreciates the way he has been embraced by the city of Miami.


"That has nothing to do with basketball," he said. "That's just because I'm sexy."


O'Neal said he looks forward to helping Heat president Pat Riley recruit free agents to fill the roster spots still open -- those vacated by Miami sending center Brian Grant and forwards Caron Butler and Lamar Odom to the Lakers in exchange for the 11-time NBA All-Star.


Over 12 seasons, O'Neal has averaged 27.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. He was attracted to the Heat in large part because of young Dwyane Wade, and was impressed by the Heat's surprising run to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.


"They didn't have a lot of talent on their team, but they had a great team," he said. "I wanted to come to a great team."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1843158
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I think its cool how Miami gave him a Marino sized reception.
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Old 21 Jul 2004, 10:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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well, miami's been longing for a superstar since Marino, so I can see why he got so much attention....

I never really liked Shaq, but it was probably because he was on the Lakers. Maybe he'll impress me this year and bring a crappy team out of the gutter...
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