Tha Sports Junkies 101

Laker Legends, Socks, and a Statue: Shaq’s Special Night

Shaq JDZ/ via Flickr


Shaquille O’Neal has done it all as a Los Angeles Laker. He led the Lakers to three titles and years of championship-caliber basketball. Shaq also racked up numerous individual accolades during his Laker tenure.

O’Neal played well enough to be selected to the Olympics as a Laker, and was MVP and scoring champion in 2000. He has won the finals MVP three times, and is seventh in team history in points scored with 13,895. Most of us probably won’t ever have 13,895 of anything.

O’Neal was selected as an All Star 15 times. He received that honor seven times as a Laker. That’s more than any other player drafted in 1992 had in their entire career other than Alonzo Mourning, who had seven appearances total in his playing days.


Shaq’s Big Night

Shaq was inducted into the team’s hall of fame last calendar year, and tonight his legacy will be solidified. On Friday night, March 24th, 2017, Shaq will get his own statue outside of Staples Center, something few other players will ever have the honor of saying.

This statue, just like O’Neal’s personality and impact on the Laker franchise, is larger than life. Standing 9 feet tall and weighing 1,200 pounds, it’ll tower over fans and remind them of one of the greats in the team’s treasured history.

The celebration’s of Shaq’s career start off with a 5:00 PM ceremony that’s free and open to public. Laker greats Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Robert Horry, Gary Payton, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are expected to attend. Former Laker coach and current Knick FO leader Phil Jackson is also expected to attend and support O’Neal. Other former Laker players, like Slava Medvedenko and Ron Harper, along with staff are also expected to be there for the ceremony and game. It’ll be the first game since Kobe’s last that so many Laker stars are expected to be in Staples Center.

The Lakers are doing everything they can to honor such a key player who poured his blood and sweat into the storied franchise. There’s even a street festival planned outside of Staples Center, because it wouldn’t be a proper Shaq tribute without some fun. The players are getting into the fun and tribute too through wearing special socks to honor O’Neal during the game. See the tribute video LA made for Shaq here.

Shaq’s statue will bring smiles to Laker fans’ faces for years to come. This is fitting, because his humor and play did the same for years during his career as a Laker. Tonight’s events will certainly add a unique buzz to Staples Center. Let’s hope the current squad can cap off a great night with a win against Minnesota. The game starts at 7:30 PM local time, 10:30 EST. An alley-oop to seal the game would be fitting. They’ll certainly be wearing the right socks for the job.