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The Lakers will retire Shaq’s jersey. As they should.

Jun 2, 2011, 12:39 PM EDT

Kobe Shaquille O'Neal Lakers Getty Images

Sometimes lost in all the clowning, all the injuries of the last few years, people seemed to have forgotten what an unstoppable force of nature Shaquille O’Neal was on the court in his prime.

A lot of that prime was in Los Angeles, paired with Kobe Bryant. They could not have won those titles without each other. But at that point in time, Shaquille O’Neal was the best player on the planet. The Lakers won three titles and Shaq cemented his legacy along with Mikan, Wilt and Kareem as one of the great Lakers centers and players ever.

The Lakers need to retire his jersey, and they will, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.

“We don’t have any specific timetable on this, but you can be assured we will retire Shaq’s jersey,” said Lakers spokesman John Black in an email on Wednesday….

The Lakers will not purposefully hold off on O’Neal’s jersey retirement until Kobe Bryant’s jersey is retired, either.

“At this point in time I’d guess there’s a really good chance that Kobe will still be playing in five years, and by that time Shaq will be elected to the HOF and we will have retired his jersey,” Black wrote.

That news made Shaq happy.

The Lakers have said quietly for years they would retire Shaq’s jersey, it’s not really a surprise. Some Lakers fans, bitter over how Shaq left (the staunch Kobe people) don’t want it to happen, but frankly those people are wrong. They’re Kobe fans, not Lakers fans. Lakers fans still have love for Shaq (he may have said hurtful things, but your parents still love you and you remember some of the things you said to them). The timing was always the question — after the bad breakup of the Kobe/Shaq era, would they wait to let Kobe go first?

Don’t be surprised if they do. But as Black notes, if Kobe keeps playing beyond his current deal with the Lakers, things may change.

Either way, Shaq’s name and number deserve to be up in Staples Center.

  1. dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Thank god this clown is retiring. I have no respect for a man stealing another man ideas ( please see S. Nash). Duncan was far more superior than this out out shape free throwing brick shooting clown. He dominated an era where no true centers existed. In the next ten years Shaq will be complaining about not having a statue.

    My top ten centers of all time

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    Bill Russel
    Wilt Chamberlain
    Moses Malone
    Bill Walton
    George Mikan
    David Robinson
    Hakeem Olajuwon
    Andrew Bynum
    Dwight Howard

    • bleedgreen15 - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      Andrew Bynum

      Really? Pass whatever you are smoking, I would love some of that

      • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        I’m smoking some “Facts Kush”!

      • weezilgirl - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        It must be so good that I’m guessing he got it from Willie. :-) (used to work for him and he has primo stuff)

        I cannot believe he put Bynum on that list with some of the greatest players EVER.

        I am glad he reminded me of Moses Malone. I did love Mose!

    • sknut - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      Even if you don’t like Shaq he has to be no worse than 5 after Russell, Chamberlain, Jabbar, and Olajuwon.

      • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM

        I’ll take a healthy Bill Walton over a healthy Shaq.

    • paul1990 - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:47 PM

      Are you outta your mind? Shaq is one of the most dominating players in NBA history. I don’t remember anyone trying to plan a huge strategy with Tim Duncan! With Shaq, you had power, strength, passing ability (which is overlooked), and court vision. I played the post in college and really appreciate a good post player. Shaq was and is one the top 5 all-time. The rings and statistics back that up. If you don’t like him personally, fine. But don’t use that as an excuse to say he wasn’t one of the top 5 of all time. Your list is flawed.

      • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:21 PM

        Please, Son. I bet you were a bench warmer in college. 1990? Am I dealing with a child?

      • paul1990 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:25 PM

        Try 4 year starter, moron, and played in the post. What are your credentials? Smokin’ weed?

      • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:38 PM

        @ child1990. four year starter? You guys must of been pretty terrible if they started you. Playing for the International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability does not count.

      • paul1990 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:51 PM

        This coming from a guy who thinks Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum are in the top 10? How old are you? 5? Again, proof that you have zero credentials. I played at Briar Cliff College…we were good. Look it up we won a few games.

      • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

        A few does not translate Championship. I wouldn’t even be bragging about your school, son. I completed my PHD in Truthology at Central Eastern Fact State University.

      • paul1990 - Jun 3, 2011 at 4:16 PM

        We won a national championship, you clod. You’re too damn lazy to look it up. At any rate, it’s difficult to have a conversation with anyone who is that clueless. By the way, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren’t real. Since you live in another world, I thought I would drop that on you.

      • jbdouble1 - Jun 4, 2011 at 10:38 AM

        @paul1990. They deleted my response to you so I am posting it again. Briars cliff college? Lol you did not even play for a university. That school you played for sucks. I guarantee that school is either division 3 or some garbage NAIA school. This is coming from a division 1-AA football player. In my book you got to play at least division 2 to be considered a college athlete. Some division 2 schools are not that good either. You don’t have any credentials. No on cares of you played at some small crappy school. Shut up.

      • weezilgirl - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        Good post! I love Shaq. He brough his fantastic skills and, for me, is an all-around man. First NBA player who could make me really, really laugh. His silly sense of humor is a nice relief when you consider some players that never, ever act like the fans exists. (see Kobe)

        He puts his money where his mouth is for charities and we don’t see that out of very many players.

        Shaq Rocks!!

    • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:56 PM

      39 people are ignorant to the game

      • florida727 - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:10 PM

        Apparently you’re #40 if you list Andrew Bynum and not Shaq. What an idiotic post.

      • paul1990 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        I just see one in this post that blasted ignorant. Hey…just say no to drugs, dirtydavis.

    • bbrown2523 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:13 PM

      You are saying others are ignorant to the game? Obviously you don’t know much about basketball. Andrew Bynum has done absolutely nothing to to be place in the top 25 centers of all time! Bob Lanier, Robert Parish, Patrick Ewing, and even Yao Ming have had better careers.

      Also, Shaq dominated in area where 2 of those top ten you listed played (Robinson, Olajuwon) as well as Ewing, Mourning, and Mutombo. Howard also has no place on that list yet…

      • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        @ Brown eye. Olujuwon Schooled Shaq. nuff said

      • paul1990 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        dirtydavis…please quit…you’re drowning here. Of course, have to admire a guy who will go down with a sinking ship. I’ll give you that.

      • dirtydavis - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:40 PM

        My Logic is undeniable…

    • bbrown2523 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      Just give up on life and go watch the WNBA

      • weezilgirl - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        Please don’t insult the WNBA by telling that white trash to watch it.

    • tony32078 - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:06 AM

      yea you bugging bynum will never be in the top ten…. he never was an allstar or top 5 players in the league… he wont even be a hall o famer when he is done

  2. SmackSaw - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Couldn’t have had a threepeat without him. When the Lakers had Shaq they were cheeky and fun. Now they’re cruel and tragic.

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:22 PM

      The Lakers won the title two out of the last three seasons. If that is “cruel and tragic” 29 other teams would like their teams to be cruel and tragic.

  3. readysethike - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Did this fool just list Andrew Bynum? Hahaha you need a drug test

  4. cookie2117 - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Lmao u do know Andrew bynums always injured

  5. cleoface - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Is Bynum a center? Shaq not on dirty’s list but Bynum is? Put down the pipe. Please you’re making me laugh too hard. You are quite the tool.

  6. zblott - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Here is a basic breakdown of where Shaq places among the all-time best centers:

    http://behindthebasket.squarespace.com/btb/2011/6/2/shaqs-place-among-the-best-centers-ever.html

  7. diablito0402 - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Hahaha dirty davis got a rise out of some people here hahaha i love it bynum #9 even over howard hahaha

  8. blueintown - Jun 2, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    They should build him a statue right away just to piss Kareem off.

  9. scir91onyoutube - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    i am eating green marshmallow PEEPS as i read this article…yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!

  10. cleoface - Jun 2, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    Dirty davis did the name come from STDs? That could be the only explanation for your posts. If you truly think that Bynum is a better player than Shaq, then it’s too late for you. Don’t waste the little time that you have left by using your mother’s computer.

  11. jbdouble1 - Jun 3, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    Honestly shaq is a good player but he could have had a better legacy. He messed himself up with his attitude and not getting along with people. Could not get along with kobe or wade. Then also could not get along with Pat Riley or Phil Jackson. It was ridiculous and childish when he left LA. Won 3 championships there and the year he left the lakers lost in the NBA Finals. How can you leave a team where you won 3 championships and almost won another? If he stayed in LA he would have probably won more. loser. Just get things settled with kobe and keep playing in LA. Then in miami the same exact thing happens. He can’t get along with wade and pat riley. He trashed the lakers organization and teased them that they could not win without him. He attacked kobe in his rap videos and that movie War of the Worlds. This is not about staunch kobe fans as you would say. This is about the disrespect that oneal has given people throughout his years in the NBA. He sold himself short of his full potential. He turned out as a travel man. Kept going from team to team because of his attitude. No doubt he is a good player but definately could have been better.

  12. avermaver - Jun 4, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    After watching Shaq’s press conference, I’m glad that he managed to grow up despite his profession. He is a worthy role-model in many ways. It’s too bad his later years were unremarkable but we ordinary mortals are not to judge, we don’t know what it’s like to be over 7′ tall over 300 lbs trying to play professional basketball in our thirties.

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