Shaq Retires: Big Man Helped To Popularize Twitter Among Athletes

On Wednesday afternoon, Shaq announced his impending retirement via Twitter. And given his relationship with the platform, it's only fitting that this is the manner by which he retires.

Twitter launched in 2006, but it took several high-profile occurrences, such as SXSW and the Iranian elections, and the participation of major celebrities, such as Shaquille O'Neal, to launch into the mainstream. In 2008, Shaq learned that an imposter was purporting to be him. At the behest of his agent, he took to Twitter himself and quickly found it to his liking:

Meanwhile, Shaquille O’Neal is tweeting with the unbridled zeal of a 12-year-old. He posted 17 times Wednesday, making references to Oprah, yoga, Kobe and fettuccine. He had 1,131 subscribers as of Wednesday night — up from 40 in the morning.

Today, it's more unusual for a well-known athlete not to own a Twitter account, and the social media service is a major source of breaking news in the world of sports. Shaq was the first athlete of his popularity -- and indeed, one of the first individuals of his popularity, period -- to embrace it.

For more on Shaq's retirement, check out the rest of this StoryStream.

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