On Friday, Shaquille O’Neal will be forever immortalized outside of Staples Center when a bronze statue will be unveiled. Shaq will be the eighth person to have a statue outside of the arena that he arguably played the biggest role in building up.
Of course, when Shaq was dealt away by the Lakers, it was on less than stellar terms. Time heals all wounds, however, and any hard feelings that existed between the two sides are all in the past.
Nonetheless, Shaq admitted to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News that he never believed that he would get a statue in his honor:
“I never thought I’d get a statue. There’s a lot of Lakers greats who deserve a statue,” O’Neal said. “So when they put my name in there, I thought it was awesome. I have great emotions. I want to thank the Buss family and the Lakers organization.”
Shaq has always maintained respect for the Buss family, saying they really only had one bad time that could never outweigh all of the good times they had. Among those good times, three straight NBA championships from 2000-2002.
In addition to those championships, Shaq won the regular season MVP in 2000, as well as three straight NBA Finals MVPs in his eight years with the franchise. He averaged 27 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.5 blocks with the Lakers.
There is no doubt that Shaq is extremely deserving of this honor. He is one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the Lakers and now he will be forever remembered.