25 Şubat 2008 Pazartesi

Jermaine O'Neal

Jermaine O'Neal (born October 13, 1978 in
Columbia, South Carolina) is an United
States|American National Basketball
Association|NBA basketball player who currently
plays for the Indiana Pacers.

O'Neal declared his eligibility for the 1996 NBA
Draft straight out of high school and was selected
by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 17th pick
of the first round. In Portland, O'Neal spent
most of his time coming off of the bench,
averaging around four points per game. He became
the youngest player to start an NBA game at the
age of 18 years and one month.

During the 2000 off-season, O'Neal was traded to
the Indiana Pacers with Joe Kleine in exchange for
Dale Davis. At Indiana, O'Neal was named a
starter and became a standout player, averaging
12.9 points in his first season, three times more
than any season he had at Portland. His averages
continued to improve in the following seasons. In
the 2001-02 season, O'Neal averaged 19.0 points,
10.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game on the way
to winning the NBA Most Improved Player Award. He
also earned his first National Basketball
Association All-Star Game|NBA All-Star Game
selection and his first All-NBA Team selection,
being selected to the All-NBA Third Team.

In the 2002-03 season, O'Neal continued to improve
and became one of only three NBA players to
average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per
game. He was selected to start in the National
Basketball Association All-Star Game|NBA All-Star
Game and was again selected to the All-NBA Third

By the 2003-04 season, O'Neal was averaging 20.1
points and 10 rebounds per game, leading the
Indiana Pacers|Pacers to the best record in the
NBA, earning an All-NBA Second Team selection and
placing third in NBA Most Valuable Player
Award|MVP balloting. In the playoffs, he helped
lead the Indiana Pacers|Pacers to an Eastern
Conference finals appearance against the Detroit
Pistons. However, he was ineffective because of
injury, and the Pacers lost to the Detroit
Pistons|Pistons in six games.

He was a member of the U.S.A. men's basketball
team that finished a disappointing sixth place in
the 2002 Basketball World Championship|World
Basketball Championships in Indianapolis. Though
he helped the U.S. team qualify for the Olympics
during the 2003 Tournament of the Americas and was
a member of the 'core group' for the Olympics, a
knee injury forced him to drop out of the national
team that competed in the 2004 Olympics.

O'Neal has been called a poster child for
so-called prep-to-pro players, for his patience
and determination to become a star player in the
NBA. He has also evolved into the role of team
leader for the Indiana Pacers|Pacers and will be
counted on to try and lead them to the NBA Finals.
On November 19, 2004 however, O'Neal became
involved in The Malice at The Palace|a massive
brawl at the end of a game against Detroit, and
was filmed striking a Pistons supporter on the
basketball court. As a result, O'Neal was
suspended indefinitely by Commissioner David Stern
while the NBA investigated the incident. On
November 21, O'Neal received a 25-game suspension
for his part in the brawl. However, thanks to the
urging of an arbitrator in just before Christmas,
Jermaine won a 10-game reduction in his sentence
and has since returned to action with the Pacers.

O'Neal scored a career-high 55 points in Indiana's
116-99 home victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on
January 4 2005. He also volunteered to donate
$1,000 to the victims of 2004's 2004 Indian Ocean
earthquake|deadly tsunamis for every point he
scored in the January 6 game against San Antonio
Spurs|San Antonio, as part of a joint donation by
the SFX Agency. He scored 32 points against the
Spurs in a losing effort, but decided instead to
donate $55,000 based on the strength of his
earlier game against the Bucks.

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