Lakers News: Shaquille O’Neal Feels Staples Center Name Belongs To Him & Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, Shaquile O'Neal, Lakers
Andrew D. Bernstein-Getty Images

Staples Center’s upcoming name change to Crypto.com Arena elicited mostly a critical response from the Los Angeles Lakers’ faithful.

Head coach Frank Vogel said he understood the disappointment of fans ahead of Dec. 25 name change. He pointed out the significance of the name to L.A.’s fans and sports enthusiasts in general, which the sports complex has held since the Lakers made it their new home in 1999.

But it turns out not everyone regrets the arena’s owners’ decision to make the major change. L.A. legend Shaquille O’Neal said on Turner Sports’ “The Big Podcast with Shaq” he is “glad” that the iconic name will now be forever associated first and foremost with the triumphs of his early 2000s Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant:

“It was a blessing to be able to play in that building. To play in front of my favorite actors and actresses, to play in front of my family, score 61 points on my birthday, win championships, three in a row for the city. I’m glad they’re taking the name of the Staples Center down because that was our building. Congratulations to the owners for getting a new deal, but hey, the Staples Center belongs to Shaq and Kobe forever.”

The Lakers — spearheaded by O’Neal and Bryant — celebrated their move to Staples Center by winning the historic three-peat between 2000-2002. The arena saw L.A. triumph again between 2009 and 2010, led by the Bryant-Pau Gasol duo.

Most recently, the 2020 championship banner went up the Staples Center rafters even though the LeBron James-led Lakers claimed the franchise’s 17th championship away from home — in the Orlando bubble, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Works begin to remove Staples Center’s red-lettered signage

Staples Center’s transition could take months to complete, particularly as the arena is set to undergo major renovations works. However, construction crews have started removing the building’s exterior signage ahead of the Dec. 25 name change deadline.

A video shows workers taking down the iconic red lettering from Staples Center’s facade. The arena’s new logo and other branding items will also be unveiled on Christmas Day.

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