The 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend has come and gone, with Team LeBron taking home the trophy yet again after LeBron James nailed the game-winner.
While the events were fun for the fan and players, the weekend also honored the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team. During halftime of the All-Star game, the members of the anniversary team were honored and the Los Angeles Lakers were well-represented.
Lakers greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Jerry West were in attendance, as well as Shaquille O’Neal, who was also working for the NBA on TNT broadcast. O’Neal rarely gets emotional, but the former center made a heartfelt speech where he thanked several people who helped him make the all-time team, via NBA on TNT:
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 21, 2022
O’Neal started things off by thanking his step-father for pushing him to become a dominant big man despite his desire to play on the perimeter like Julius Erving and Johnson. O’Neal continued down his list, thanking fellow centers like David Robinson and Abdul-Jabbar for inspiring him and pushing him to be the best possible player he could be.
The Laker legend also thanked West for sitting him down when he came to Los Angeles and followed it up by thanking an array of family and friends that were there for him along his journey. O’Neal concluded his speech by lamenting that his father, sister and Kobe Bryant were not present at the ceremony and credited each of them the most for getting him to where he is today.
It was an emotional and heartfelt moment for O’Neal and it speaks to how difficult his journey was to become one of the league’s best players ever. O’Neal making the NBA’s 75th team was well-deserved and it was great to see him celebrated.
Russell Westbrook appreciative of Shaquille O’Neal’s advice
As an iconic member of the Lakers family, O’Neal still keeps tabs on the franchise and was spotted courtside when they took on the Orlando Magic. During the game, O’Neal was caught talking to Westbrook, where he told the guard that he needed to play slower.
When asked about the interaction, Westbrook said he appreciated O’Neal’s advice and would work on it the remainder of the season.