"This has not been an easy process", said the 18-year veteran, who was joined at his side by his wife, children, and three bowls of mashed potatoes. "But after discussing my future over several helpings of pasta, chicken, and french fries courtesy of Bob's House of Ribs, it's become clear that I've spent too much time focusing on basketball and not enough time with the family-style restaurants I love."
Added O'Neal: "Can someone pass the fries down here?"
The decision comes as a surprise to few, as it became more and more obvious to Celtics brass that O'Neal's desire to eat a shit ton of food has taken priority over the game.
"I don't think anyone expected him to return. He loves his family-style restaurants too much to put them through another season of neglect. Plus he's like 400 pounds now," said Celtics general manager Danny Ainge.
"Charles [Barkley] told me: 'You don't realize how much time you've missed eating until you get out' and he's right," said O'Neal. "My body just can't take this grind anymore, and I don't want to be one of the players who can't get out of bed and eat their body weight in ribs when they're 50."
When asked whether he'd ever entertain the idea of running for political office now that is playing days are through, O'Neal responded: "I dunno, man, hey can I get some macaroni down here?"
O'Neal thanked the teammates and coaches who helped him throughout his career before closing the press conference by asking again for that plate of macaroni.