Sunday
Jul052009

Shaq Marketing Machine Hits Cleveland

Shaq T-shirts at the Cleveland Cavaliers' Web site.July 5, 2009: Shaquille O'Neal made his first trip to Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers, and it took only a few moments before he made his intentions clear: "My motto is simple: Win a ring for the King," he said regarding new teammate LeBron James to members of the media and Cavs owners and other personnel who gathered at St. Martin de Porres Family Center for his coming out press conference on July 2. "They say things happen in threes. I won with Kobe [Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, where they won three consecutive NBA titles] and with the great Dwyane Wade [with the Miami Heat]."

O'Neal was quick to sell his skills, which he said are still dominating even at 37, as well as his future in Cleveland. I'm not going to do it by myself, LeBron's not going to do it by himself," O'Neal said during the media event. "It takes a team, an organization. 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 said that there are only "four or five good centers in this league, and I'm in that number. I'm still here. I'm a force to be reckoned with . . . You have to come take my spot, and not through Twitter and not through the media. Come take my spot. I'm ready to go . . . I'm still the Shogun."

O'Neal is in the last year of a five-year, $!00 million deal, but already looking beyond 2009-10. "I'd love an extension, who wouldn't? But we're not going to negotiate in public. If [the Cavaliers] offer me $35 million a year I'd sign it right now, I wouldn't even read it." Regarding the future of James, who can leave the team as a free agent after 2009-10, O'Neal referenced team owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Danny Ferry, who were there along with head coach Mike Brown. "[James] is an intelligent young man. [I'm] sure he is going to do the right thing. Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Ferry have given him the world right here. If we do what we came here to do, everything will fall into place."

Shaq 'N' LeBron: Let The Rock 'N' Roll Marketing (And Tweets) Begin

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