Shaquille O’Neal will join the likes of Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a player statue erected outside of the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, California next season. The news was announced on Jimmy Kimmel’s show last evening.
Shaq’s dominant career in the NBA has always transcended the the way things were done and his life after his career is no exception.
The Lakers claim to hold the tradition that players’ jerseys will not be retired until they are inducted into the Hall of Fame. This protocol was broken for the Diesel as the Lakers raised his signature number 34 into the rafters on April 2, 2013, only two short years after retirement.
Furthermore, Shaq is still not inducted into the Hall of Fame but will receive a statue immortilizing his presence in front of the Staples Center until they end of time.
All candor aside, Shaquille O’Neal is without a doubt deserving and a first ballot Hall of Famer. He officially became eligible to be nominated on January 1, 2016 as a player must wait at least 5 years from when they retire.
Jeanie Buss, Lakers president and co-owner made a statement on the reveal:
“We look forward to having Shaq join the other legends who have been honored with statues at STAPLES Center. He is a giant not only in size, but also in stature and in what he accomplished as a Laker. Shaq literally broke the ground for the site, and was hugely responsible for not only getting STAPLES Center built, but for making it one of the most successful and famous arenas in the world. It’s an honor that is well deserved.”
In his historic NBA career O’Neal has played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics.
His career averages stand at 23.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, and 2.3 BPG.