Were it not for the NBA lockout Shaquille O’Neal’s #34 would already be hanging from the rafters. Instead the self-proclaimed MDE (most dominant ever) will have to wait until next season for the honor.
Though an official date has yet to be set Shaq appeared very surprised to learn of the news. During the TNT pre-game for yesterday’s Lakers-Celtics clash was when O’Neal first learned of the honor. So surprised was Shaq that he refused to accept the news as fact instead prodding Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley to “stop kidding”.
Say whatever you will of Shaq but his place in Laker lore is among the legends to wear purple and gold. After going an entire decade without a title – an eternity in Lakerland – O’Neal arrived and soon a dynasty followed.
Naturally you can’t talk about Shaq’s time in L.A. without mentioning the feud with Kobe Bryant. No matter the circumstances, Kobe and Shaq combined to be perhaps the most deadly duo in hoops history.
Aside from all he accomplished on the court Shaq was also highly involved in the community during his time in Los Angeles. Long before ESPN used the moment to add fuel to the Kobe-Shaq feud it was routine for O’Neal to pass out expensive gifts to underprivileged youth during Christmas.
Shaquille O’Neal knows what an honor it is to be forever recognized alongside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and one day Kobe Bryant as well.
Congrats to Shaq! It was a pleasure to watch him in his prime and I doubt we’ll ever see a player as dominant as O’Neal play the game again.