Prior to Shaquille O’Neal’s touching and entertaining half-time ceremony, in which the Lakers officially retired Shaq’s No. 34 jersey by hanging it next to the names of other Laker greats in the rafters of Staples Center, the man of many nicknames spent 20 minutes addressing the media.
During this time, Shaq expressed countless reflections that he did not have time for in his halftime speech, including the importance of his teammates (which some criticized him afterwards for not mentioning).
“A lot of people ask me what does it take to win three championships…I’m quick to say you have to have great teammates. If it wasn’t for Derek Fisher for the .04 shot, there goes a championship… If it wasn’t for Big Shot Bob at the top of the key. If it wasn’t for Kobe throwing a lob versus Portland, you have to have great teammates. I had great teammates and great fans and media support. This is everybody’s night tonight.”
In addition, between the childhood stories and Lakers memories, Shaq relived the tale of when he first walked into the LA Forum with Jerry West.
“We was walkin’ through The Forum and Jerry was telling me all the things that he expected from me. He had me look up and said ‘See all those names, you’re either going to be up there or with all the stuff you’ve got going on, musical rap and all that, or you’re going to be a bust. So, good luck!'”
Regrets? Shaq says the only regrets he has pertain to missing time and free throws.
“The only regrets I have is that I missed 200 games and I missed 5,000 free throws.”
Dwight Howard might have those same regrets if he ever finds himself at a media conference before his own jersey retirement ceremony. Interestingly enough, Shaq still had plenty to say about Dwight, which was prompted after being asked if he thought the Lakers could win another championship with Kobe Bryant.
“I’m a big man guy. The other guy (Dwight) needs to step into his own.”
Watch Part II of Shaq’s media session before his jersey retirement ceremony below and don’t forget to click here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.