The Los Angeles Lakers currently have four statues outside of the Staples Center with another one on the way.
Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Chick Hearn, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all greet fans of the storied NBA franchise before and after games in downtown Los Angeles. These four Laker legends, which have been immortalized in bronze outside of Staples Center, will be joined by Shaquille O’Neal at some point during the 2016-17 NBA season via Lakers.com:
The statue will be unveiled on a date yet to be determined during the 2016-17 season.
Lakers President Jeanie Buss talked about the organization’s intention to create a statue for Shaq in the following statement via Lakers.com:
“We look forward to having Shaq join the other legends who have been honored with statues at STAPLES Center,” said Buss. “He is a giant not only in size, but also in stature and in what he accomplished as a Laker. Shaq literally broke the ground for the site, and was hugely responsible for not only getting STAPLES Center built, but for making it one of the most successful and famous arenas in the world. It’s an honor that is well deserved.”
Although Shaq played for six different teams during his NBA career, O’Neal made his biggest impression with the Lakers after signing with the team in free agency back in 1996. O’Neal won three titles, an NBA MVP award and racked numerous individual accolades during his time in Los Angeles.
Along with the four other Laker legends, Shaq will join two other members of Los Angeles royalty. Los Angeles Kings stars Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, and boxer Oscar De La Hoya also have statues in front of the famous arena.
With Kobe Bryant retiring after this season, the Lakers legend could be the next in line to have his statue outside of the Staples Center. Bryant and O’Neal won three consecutive titles together before the veteran center was traded to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2004.