Shaquille O’Neal’s basketball imprint in the Lakerland will surely be hard to duplicate.
This is not to take away anything from other former Laker great big men like the George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain or even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but definitely, Shaq has left his own brand of basketball in the proud city of Los Angeles.
In fact, his best NBA days happened not in Orlando, which drafted him first overall during the 1992 NBA Draft, but with the Lakers. Yes, he did win another championship with Miami in 2006, the Heat franchise’s first-ever, but obviously, Dwyane Wade was the team’s main anchor during that championship run.
With the Lakers, Shaq helped bring back the championship glories of Los Angeles together with a young Kobe Bryant, which ended a 12-year NBA title drought in 2000 as LA beat the Indiana Pacers, 4-2 in the Finals.
Shaq carried the Lakers past the Philadelphia 76ers followed by the New Jersey Nets in the next two seasons to complete an NBA “three-peat”.
The 7’2″ NBA great will have his famed no. 34 Lakers jersey retired on April 2 when Los Angeles host the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center.
O’Neal retired on June 2011 after playing an injury-plagued season with the Boston Celtics. By then, he had amassed 28,596 points, 13,099 rebounds and 2,732 blocks in 1,207 games.
Here’s a video tribute on Shaquille O’Neal as narrated by another Laker great James Worthy…