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Mark Cuban Laments Shaquille O'Neal's Retirement

Shaquille O’Neal had many fans, but Mark Cuban was among his biggest. Cuban tried for most of the past decade to bring O’Neal to Dallas and was never able to do so. There were flirtations, with Shaq saying publicly that he would like to play for Cuban and with the Mavs, but when Shaq was finally ready last summer, Dallas had other needs for their midlevel exception.

Upon hearing O’Neal’s retirement announcement, Cuban, who has been quiet for most of these playoffs, had plenty to say about Shaq-fu and his exit.

“Nothing more entertaining than answering the phone and hearing him say, ‘This is Shaq,’ " Cuban said via email. “As if I wouldn’t know it was him calling.”

“The NBA wont ever be the same without Shaq Albert,” said Cuban, using a moniker he bestowed upon Shaq during the ’06 Finals. “Great guy. Shaq made the NBA a better place.”

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.