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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  40 responses

Los Angeles Lakers to Retire Shaquille O’Neal’s Jersey


by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

It’s all over now. However, at the height of his powers, Shaquille O’Neal was arguably the most dominant player in NBA history. A magnetic, entertaining, immovable, and completely unstoppable force.

But, as his career moved forward, Shaq’s relationships with the teams who employed him began to sour. The Los Angeles Lakers being the most glaring example.

Regardless of the old and highly public dramas with the front-office, and the current franchise player, the Lakers will look past all of that, and honor Shaq by retiring his jersey.

ESPN reports:

“We don’t have any specific timetable on this, but you can be assured we will retire Shaq’s jersey,” said Lakers spokesman John Black in an email on Wednesday … O’Neal enjoyed the the bulk of the success during his 19-year NBA career in the eight seasons he spent in Los Angeles from 1996-2004, winning his lone regular season MVP award in 1999-00 and three consecutive Finals MVPs from 2000-02. All seven other Lakers players to have their number retired are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, but the team may not wait for the requisite five-year grace period before O’Neal enters the Hall as a surefire, first ballot inductee before hosting the jersey ceremony.

“We don’t have a specific policy on it,” Black wrote. “As you know, players have to wait five years to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but we could possibly do a jersey retirement ceremony for Shaq prior to that.” The Lakers will not purposefully hold off on O’Neal’s jersey retirement until Kobe Bryant’s jersey is retired, either.

“At this point in time I’d guess there’s a really good chance that Kobe will still be playing in five years, and by that time Shaq will be elected to the HOF and we will have retired his jersey,” Black wrote. O’Neal retires with career averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game on 58.2 percent shooting, but his numbers jumped to 27 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks in 514 regular season games played in L.A.

Even though they supposedly buried the hatchet in 2006, I personally can’t wait to see and hear what Kobe Bryant will have to say during Shaquille O’Neal’s Laker jersey retirement ceremony.

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  • Roy

    get back in the kitchen, oh wait we’re not talking about women my bad

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    It’s gonna be hanging next to Kobe’s :D

  • Overtime

    So they should. Just out of interest, say the Magic wanted to retire it too, are they allowed to?

  • Danny

    Yeah every team can retire his jersey if they want to. Miami Heat even retired Michael Jordan’s jersey. But Shaq will be the one to decide which team he enters under in the HOF.
    It should be the Lakers since he stayed longest there, won most there and was at the top of his career there. But who knows. It’s Shaq after all. He could choose Boston for all I know.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    I bet the Big Fella teared when he first heard about this. I can’t wait to see Shaq’s Laker jersey retirement ceremony. Shaq’s going to get a huge ovation at the Staples Center.

  • Gman

    Good!

  • pl

    they should give him his statue right now while they’re at it

  • KOBESbestFRIEND

    He should of retired a Laker…i still wonder how many titles he and Kobe would have won if they would of just set a side their differences and dominated the league like they did at the start of this millennium…now we have 2 make do with Bynum…still #34 does belong in the rafters and he needs a statue too

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_ikaIDz-Ck IAMORANGE4EVER

    The best statue of Shaq would be him freeze framed when running down the court after an awesome alley oop pass from Kobe to seal their Western Conference Finals win over the Blazers, and their first NBA Finals berth together as a dynamic duo. Click my name to relive that moment.

  • JackieM

    An era is ending in basketball.All the best to you Shaq in retirement!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    I’m not gonna lie…I teared up a little bit yesterday when I read he was done. Thanks for the memories, Superman.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 DFrance21

    @IAMORANGE I think that would make a dope statue. I doubt Orl would retire his jersey with the way he left town, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miami retire it.

  • Jer dawg

    Yeah, Shaq was insanely great when he wanted to be. I’ll always remember how he physically manhandled every center trying to guard him in his prime. Anybody! Sabonis, Yao, Shawn Bradley, Mutombo, Divac, David Robinson,Alonzo Mourning, Ewing, and sometimes Olajuwon. There are many others, but it’s just nuts how he just dunk on them and they go sprawling because they got bumped. His retirement makes me realize how precious and how short people’s ball playing career is. If you love hoops just play your heart out and have no regrets. It’s not something Shaq always did, but he played through lots of stuff.

  • EmCee

    He should for sure get a statue outside staples. He should have a mic to his mouth with the base of the statue reading “Yo Kobe, tell me how my @ss taste!”

  • EmCee

    ^with a dedication to Kareem

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 DFrance21

    Kareem must be pissed. JUST when he was starting to get some attention… here comes Shaq with the biggest NBA news outsife of the Finals. lol.

  • thecomputerdude

    I wonder what Kareem has to say..lol

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Sorry, but I’ma laugh if Shaq gets a statue before Kareem.
    Laugh at Kareem, that is.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    He use to get the best of Shawn Bradley?!!! your kidding right? Bradley dominated Shaq.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Shawn Bradley??????????????????????????

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I know who that is but he dominated Shaq?? That’s gotta be sarcasm

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    You gotta be right. I was giving Jer dawg a hard time. Common dude don’t even bring the human highlight film (wrong side of the highlight) into a convo about Shaq.

  • JD

    thats great news i wondered if they’d do this after all that happened

  • Trout

    This is really touching love him or hate him shaq was and will forever be one of the most dominant to ever do it. My favourite moment was a monster dunk on Cato in the early Laker years youtube it.

  • Trout
  • D12FSU

    considering he played for 5 teams, I wasnt sure if he stayed in one place long enough to have his # retired, but Im happy LA is acknowledging the fact that the Big Man brought em 3 titles

  • robb

    Shaq dressed in green for one season, the Lakers, shouldn’t retire his jersey. Nah, I’m joking, the big guy deserves it. He didn’t get to play much with the Celtics anyway.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9B412oN9MA EJ

    Shaq actually made it kinda worse for the Cs cause Ainge thought he could trade Perk, so that makes this even more deserved.

  • Riggs

    shaq better be an analyst for TNT, take MILLER OUT.

  • robb

    @EJ you’re absolutely right

  • irondan21

    Kareem, “OMG! Where’s my statue?! Shaq’s jersey is still warm and he’s already gettin it hung next to mine in the rafters? I never get any love.”

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    This is nice. My “first” season as a fan of the NBA came in at the 92-93 season. MJ in the finals, Shaqs rookie year… big things were happening in the NBA, the media aspect was like wild fire….and all the way over in Australia we were feeling the heat… With Shaqs retirement, comes the end of an era for me as a fan. I was 12 in 92 and here was this huge mountain of a man coming into the NBA… impressionable player of his era, as MJ was before him (and LeBron will be of his).
    Going to miss you big fella. The NBA won’t be the same without you, but you know what??? Thats okay – it’s not meant to be.

  • Overtime

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v53lwRhU4fs&feature=related
    Always well surprises me this isnt played more. Absolutely destroys the admiral

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Shaq gets no statue outside of LA in my book and most people in LA think so to. ESPN LA Radio answers this question, they did poll and broadcast about it. Shaq became a journey man at the end of his career. BOOK IT!!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    @Overtime: great link, great point.

  • Sergio

    Best NBA Franchise Period.

  • sanman

    Shaq will probably get a statue there before Kareem does….

  • Yesse

    Yeah, just give a statue to Shaq as well. Can’t hear what Kareem has to say about that. But all in all, i can’t wait to see Shaq’s jersey on the top of Staples Center.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @DFrance21: With Shaq pointing to the sky like that, it would make him appear to be in a Superman pose sans the cape.

  • TT

    He will be missed by many or some.I love him for just who is.

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