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Shaquille O'Neal to be honoured by the Lakers with a statue at Staples Center

Yash Matange
915   //    29 Jan 2016, 09:54 IST
Shaquille O’Neal with the Larry O’Brien trophy and the NBA Finals MVP trophy as a Laker.

On Wednesday night, the storied NBA franchise, Los Angeles Lakers made an announcement regarding former league MVP Shaquille O’Neal. The franchise announced that O’Neal will have a statue unveiled in his honor outside Staples Center during the 2016-17 NBA season.

Shaq joins an esteemed group of athletes, such as Jerry West (”The Logo”), Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chick Hearn, Oscar De La Hoya and Wayne Gretzky, who already have a statue outside Staples Center.

In the announcement, here’s what co-owner and president of the Lakers said:

"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."

While the team had made an announcement, Shaq was made aware of this honour bestowed upon him while he was on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. Watch Shaq’s reaction when he came to know of the statue:

With the help of a rule change implemented by the Basketball Naismith Hall of Fame, Shaq was rendered eligible and highlighted the list of eligible candidates released by the Hall in December of 2015. Finalists from the list will be released during the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, inductees will be announced in April while the induction ceremony will take place in September. 

Shaq played eight (1996-2004) of his 19 NBA seasons with the Lakers and won three of his four NBA titles with the team. Over the course of his career in the league he played for several teams, six to be precise: Orlando Magic, Lakers, Miami Heat ( NBA Championship in 2006), Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.

He teamed up with Kobe Bryant to lead the Los Angeles franchise to a three-peat of championships from 2000-2002. He was the 1999-00 league MVP and NBA Finals MVP for each title during the three-peat. He is a 3 time NBA All-Star Game MVP in 15 All-Star Game appearances, he also has 14 All-NBA team honors to his credit (8 All-NBA First team). 

The Lakers had earlier retired Shaq’s jersey(#34) on April 2nd of 2013. 

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