Lakers Set to Retire Shaquille O’Neal’s Jersey in 2012-13
There’s no question Shaquille O’Neal was one of the greatest players to ever wear the Lakers uniform, and now it appears he will be rewarded for his efforts.
Following his retirement from the NBA at the conclusion of last season the team reportedly began plans to retire his “34″ jersey he wore during his time with the team.
Indications are Lakers will retire @Shaq uniform No. 34 next season. Brief delay due to rush of schedule, not any doubt it would happen.
— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) February 9, 2012
Once his number is retired O’Neal will join the list of legends currently hanging in the Staples Center rafters. Just the list of centers alone is staggering, as O’Neal’s jersey will hang next to those of Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
After O’Neal left the Lakers amidst a cloud of controversy and hard feelings, the team has apparently been planning to retire his number ever since trading him in 2004. Owner Jerry Buss released a statement last summer concerning O’Neal following the big man’s retirement.
“Shaq had a long and amazing career,” Buss’ statement read. “A huge impact both on and off the court. His contributions were significant to the entire NBA, but we specifically appreciate what he did with and what he meant to the Lakers during his eight years with us. We have three championships that we wouldn’t have won without him, and we will forever be grateful for his significant contributions to those teams.”
The retirement of O’Neal’s jersey will mark the first retired Lakers jersey since Gail Goodrich’s number-25 was retired on Nov. 20, 1996.