The Los Angeles Lakers have a legacy of dominant big men, and arguably none of them was more dominant than Shaquille O’Neal.
The Lakers signed O’Neal in the summer of 1996, the same year they drafted a high school kid named Kobe Bryant. The two would team up to lead the Lakers to three championships.
O’Neal retired in 2011, and thanks to a recent change in Hall of Fame policy, he is eligible this season, via Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports:
“Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming and Allen Iverson stand as the three highest-profile players to hit the ballot for the first time. The two 7-footers became eligible due to the Hall’s recent decision to reduce the waiting period for consideration from five years after retirement to four years”
O’Neal is widely considered to be a lock to be enshrined in his first year of eligibility. He is sixth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (though Dirk Nowitzki is set to pass him soon), a three-time NBA Finals MVP, the 2000 regular season MVP, a 15-time All-Star, and eight-time All-NBA First Team selection.
While he played on six different teams, it was his time with the Lakers where O’Neal made his biggest mark. O’Neal averaged 27 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.8 blocks in his eight seasons in Los Angeles. He also won his only MVP in 2000 and all three of his Finals MVPS during the three-peat from 2000-2002.