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THE LAKERS RETIRE THE NUMBER 34 OF SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
Mon, 13 Feb 2012 04:40 PM EST

Shaquille O’Neal will at all times have a particular place in the hearts of L. A. Lakers’ followers for being named Finals MVP in all 3 of the Lakers ‘ championships from 2000 to 2002. Starting next season he will also have an abiding place at Staples Center.

The Lakers will withdraw O’Neal’s No. 34 jersey next season, team spokesman John Black confirmed.

An exact date may not be all ready until the NBA announces the 2012-13 schedules this summer. Basketball spreads

O’Neal retired in June after a 19-year, Hall of Fame-worthy NBA career. In the 8ht seasons he spent in L. A. from 1996 to 2004, the L.A Lakers made the Finals 4 times, winning three championships, and O’Neal led the league in scoring whilst being named regular season MVP in 1999-2000.

O’Neal will be the 8th player in Lakers franchise background to have his jersey retired, joining Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13), Elgin Baylor (No. 22), Gail Goodrich (No. 25), Magic Johnson (No. 32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (No. 33), James Worthy (No. 42) and Jerry West (No. 44). Basketball odds

All 7 other Lakers players to have their number retired are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“It’s merited,” Kobe Bryant said after the Lakers’ 88-87 overtime win over the Boston Celtics. “It’s rightfully entitled.”

Shaquille O’Neal retired with career averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 helps and 2.3 blocks per game on 58.2 % shooting, but his numbers jumped to twenty-seven points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks in 514 regular-season games played in Los Angeles.

He was far more provoking in the 3 Finals against to Indiana, Philadelphia and New Jersey, averaging 35.9 points, 15.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in the Lakers’ 3 series wins.

This week Bryant passed O’Neal’s 28,596 career points to presume 5th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“I want to personally congratulate Kobe on being the best Laker ever,” O’Neal said straight after Bryant passed his mark.

Bryant said: “I enjoy it. I’m sure Shaq and I’ll connect at some specific point and revisit history. But it’s fun. We had some good times, man. We had some good times. So thank you is what I should say (to O’Neal).”

O’Neal wore No. 32 in Orlando to start his career but had to modify to No. 34 when arriving in Los Angeles because of Johnson. He returned to No. 32 in Miami and Phoenix. He also wore No. 33 in Cleveland and No. 36 in Boston to end his career.

The connection between O’Neal and the L.A Lakers spoiled before he was traded to the Miami Heat in summer 2004. O’Neal butted heads with Bryant and was looking for a rewarding contract extension that the team did not wish to offer, but time has helped repair the breach.

“Shaq had a long and fantastic career, with a massive impact both off and on the court,” Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss announced in an announcement when the big man retired. “His contributions were significant to the whole NBA, but we especially recognize what he probably did with and what he intended to the Los Angeles Lakers during his eight years with us. We have 3 championships that we wouldn’t have won without him, and we will always be thankful for his important contributions to those teams.”


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