The Los Angeles Lakers retire Shaquille O’Neal’s #34 jersey
In the night which saw the Lakers face and beat the Dallas Mavericks, something that will make history for all the Lakers’ fans (but not only for them) happened at the Staples Center: the #34 jersey of Shaquille O’Neal has been added to the eight already retired by the franchise.
Starting center of the Lakers between 1996 and 2004, Shaq averaged 27 points, 11,8 rebounds and 2,5 blocks per game with L.A., winning three rings (and three MVP Finals as much) and making with Kobe Bryant one of the best duos ever seen in basketball history.
With the Lakers’ jersey, O’Neal recorded his career-high of 61 points against the Clippers. It was his birthday and the Clippers were guilty of refusing to give him the tickets he asked for his family.
The best-known moment of his career is certainly the clutch play in the Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals in Portland. Shaq, after dunking an alley-oop on a Kobe Bryant pass in the final minutes of the game, comes back to defense with a scream as famous as the one of Tardelli at the Bernabeu.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ time of Shaquille O’Neal ended after the loss against the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. The relationship with Kobe Bryant were by that moment compromised and the big man decided to leave Los Angeles.
The two guys now say that they are friends, but their argument lasted for a long time and not all the fans are convinced that now Kobe and Shaq are really friends.
Certainly, one of the main characteristics of Shaq are his nicknames, a lot of which has been invented by him. “The Diesel,” “Shaq Fu”, “Shaqspere” “The Big Aristotele”, “The Big Daddy”, “Superman”, “The Big Agave”, “The Big Cactus”, “The Big Shaqtus”, “The Big Galactus”, “Wilt Chamberneezy”, “The Big Baryshnikov”, “The Real Deal”, “Dr. Shaq” and, more recently, “Shaqovic” e “Shaqstradamus” are the most famous and the best-known of them.
Aside from his outstanding career on the floor, Shaq proved to be one of the greatest showman even outside the basketball arenas. He recorded some discs as a singer, he acted in some films (like Scary Movie) and other American shows and nowadays he participate in the TNT NBA studio along with Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley.
Fonte foto: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times