Here in Laker Country, unlike Boston, we only honor a select few of our all-time greats with the immortalization that is jersey retirement. Check the rafters in Boston and chances are you’d think an epic game of bingo is going on up there. Do the same in Staples Center and you’ll see a select few names and numbers that represent some of the best to ever play the game.
That’s why having two separate jersey retirement ceremonies in the same season is among the rarest occurrences you’ll see in L.A. City. We already knew Jamaal Wilkes and Shaquille O’Neal were to be honored this upcoming season. We now know exactly when both will occur.
On Thursday of this week the Lakers announced December 28th as the date to honor Wilkes and April 2nd to send Shaq’s #34 to the rafters.
Quite an honor for both men who have achieved so much success during some truly storied hoops careers. For Wilkes his #52 was long overdue to be sent to hoops heaven. A winner at all levels of the game Wilkes was a fixture on the L.A. sports scene having attended UCLA before balling in purple and gold. Wilkes will also enter the Hall of Fame this year this its only right the Lakers show proper respect to one of the game’s greats.
As for Shaq, I’m sure you’re very familiar with his days in Los Angeles. Shaq continued the legacy of Laker big men joining the likes of George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as dominating forces that helped hang championship banners for the best franchise in all of hoops. Despite Shaq’s unceremonious and contentious exit from the Lake Show there was never a doubt he’d be honored by the team.