Before the Los Angeles Lakers’ Friday night game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team will be honoring one of the best players in franchise history, Shaquille O’Neal, with his own statue outside of Staples Center.
O’Neal will join the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Chick Hearn as Laker legends to be forever immortalized with their own statue and it will be a star-studded event.
According to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters, Shaq’s former teammate Kobe Bryant, as well as his coach Phil Jackson will be among those in attendance for the unveiling:
Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, Jerry West, & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are among the attendees I'm hearing are confirmed for Shaq's statue unveiling
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) March 22, 2017
Of course the biggest name among those expected is Kobe who has found himself around the Lakers a lot recently. Kobe was also in the building when his former agent Rob Pelinka was named the franchise’s new general manager.
Kobe and Shaq famously had issues while they teamed together from 1996-2004. That didn’t stop them from winning three straight championships and being recognized as one of the best duos in the history of the NBA.
Their split in 2004 was a big deal and there was plenty of talk about the rivalry betwen the two. They have long since squashed any issues between them as they got older and Kobe even appeared on Shaq’s podcast with the two reminiscing about their time together.
Shaq was one of the most dominant players, not only in Lakers history, but in the history of the entire league. In his eight seasons with the Lakers he averaged 27 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.5 blocks while winning three NBA Finals MVPs as well as the 2000 Regular Season MVP Award.