Newport, R.I. — Shaquille O’Neal  speaks maybe a half a notch above whisper. So it took my best Talia Shire  to get through the rest of the media and pick up what I could from his (very brief) sit down with the press folks following his first practice with the Celtics  Tuesday at Salve Regina University. Here’s what we got:
No chemistry problems with a new team?
“I’ve known a lot of these guys their whole career, spent a lot of time with them during the summer. Getting along with the guys won’t be a problem or a factor. I’ve known these guys since the first day they came into the NBA.”
Does it matter if you start or not at this point of your career?
“Nope, my game is real limited. I know to look for Garnett and to look for my shooters. I’ve always played with great big men and great shooters, so it’s no different.”
How about your first day with Doc Rivers  as your head coach? About what you expected?
“I always knew Doc was a great coach, that’s why I called him this summer. I want to end my career with a players coach, I wanted to end my career with a team that’s going to win.”
Doc mentioned that some of the guys weren’t in the condition he had hoped. Is your fitness level a concern?
“I’m happy, I’m cool. There’s a difference between being in shape and in basketball shape. Remember, I’m not going to be playing 35-40 minutes a game, more like 20-25 minutes a game, and I could do that all day. I’m still putting in some extra work, doing some yoga at night so I’ll be ready.”
Just happy to be with this team?
“I’m very delighted for myself and my family. Going into my 19th year, breaking records every day and being different historical teams. I’ve had a very, very unorthodox and illustrious career. Unorthodox and illustrious — two big words in a row.”