Heat president Pat Riley remembered calling the team’s owner and saying they had a chance at acquiring a “once-in-a-lifetime player” who was strong, fast and agile, could score, run, dunk and laugh, was charismatic and a global icon, and wears a size-22 sneaker.
(Owner) Micky Arison asked if Riley was serious about the Heat obtaining (Shaquille) O’Neal; Riley said he was and recalled how Arison began screaming with joy.
While O’Neal said he was on the “downslide of his career,” Riley noted that the team wouldn’t have won the title without him and that the star center “changed our franchise.”
Source: Baxter Holmes of ESPN
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