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Report: Lakers to retire Shaq’s #34 next season

Feb 9, 2012, 6:00 PM EDT

Shaquille O'Neal AP

From’s Scott Howard-Cooper:

Indications are Lakers will retire @Shaq uniform No. 34 next season. Brief delay due to rush of schedule, not any doubt it would happen.

O’Neal, who retired after last season, played for the Lakers from 1996-2004, and is still currently the only player to win a championship after signing a max contract with another team in free agency. During his time with the Lakers, O’Neal won 3 Finals MVPs, 3 championships, and distinguished himself as one of the greatest centers of all time. He also famously feuded with Kobe Bryant,  and was traded for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant the day before Bryant, then a free-agent, re-signed with the Lakers. The move appeared to hurt the Lakers in the short-term, as they missed the playoffs the year after trading Shaq and O’Neal won a championship with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in 2006.

However, the move worked out for the Lakers in the long run, as they won 2 championships after trading for Pau Gasol, with Bryant winning the Finals MVP award both times. Due to O’Neal’s penchant for burning bridges, it may have seemed like there was a possibility that no team would retire his jersey, but it looks like the Lakers will allow O’Neal to join an exclusive club that includes players like Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Elgin Baylor.

  1. keyshawn22 - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Much deserved! Congrats to Shaquille!

    Delivered 3 titles and an MVP.

    While Magic will always be the greatest Laker ever Shaq is contention with Jerry West for the 2nd best!!

    Shaquille is the best player post Jordan period.

    • mytthor - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      Respect to Shaq, but honestly, you’re not even considering Kobe in the conversation for top 3 Lakers of all time?

      And as far as best player post Jordan, no love for Duncan (or again, Kobe)?

      Not that Shaq shouldn’t be in these conversations, but Kobe and Duncan need to be there as well.

    • david8726 - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:34 AM

      I don’t think you can argue that Shaq is a better Laker than Kobe only because Kobe has had a much longer tenure with the franchise and has obviously won more titles with them.

      Shaq at his peak was arguably the most dominating player in the history of the league. But that doesn’t change the fact that Kobe has been a laker twice as long as Shaq (15 years and counting for Kobe, 9 years for Shaq).

  2. jgray30 - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Really? From dunking on people and throwing elbows?

  3. dsimp724 - Feb 9, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Next month the celtics are gonna retire his seat in the training room

  4. jimeejohnson - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    The Chinese say “Shaq-Attack” as if it were the name of an unstoppable force, like The Hulk. Just sayin’.

  5. cured76 - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Grats Diesel! Well earned and well-deserved! It’s great to see you’ll be retiring in purple and gold!

  6. lovelakers - Feb 9, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    It is Shaq, not Kobe, who led the Lakers to those 3-peats.

    Yes, Shaq got help help from other players, including from Kobe who made a great contributions. But Kobe is not equal to Shaq in those years. Kobe paired UP to get those rings. Everybody else, like MJ, Magic, Tim Duncan, all paired DOWN (getting role players) to get those rings.

    We should not whole sell fashion to brand Kobe as the leader during those years.

    It was Kobe who led the Lakers to the last two rings. We saw back-to-back with Kobe, but not 3-peats, for a long time. Only MJ and Shaq can get those honors.

    • sasquash20 - Feb 10, 2012 at 1:47 AM

      Duncan had plenty of help as well. I don’t think playing with David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginowhatever, and defense stud Bruce Bowens is exactly pairing down. Don’t get me wrong Duncan is an all time great, just saying he had plenty of help. Really all the guys you mentioned had HOF caliber help. Magic had Kareem, and Worthy. MJ had Pippen, and always good defenders around him. I do agree that Shaq was the main force behind the 3 peat, but he doesn’t do that without Kobe.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 10, 2012 at 7:51 AM

      sorry, not buying into that logic.

  7. bigzant82 - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    a legend he was my idol from 96-2003

  8. asublimeday - Feb 10, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    At least wait until Kobe retires. This is flat out disrespectful.

  9. jgray30 - Feb 10, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    I see itva lil dif. Yes, shaq was the man in his Laker days but, if Kobe wasnt there u cant honestly say they would have won 3 straight. There were multiple pkayoff games where kobe did work late in the game cuz shaq either missed free throws or wouldnt even get the ball due to hack-a-shaq. They needed eachother to pull thru and get those 3 rings. Congrats! Tho. Def one of if not the most DOMINANT player ever..Not quite the BEST tho.

  10. jgray30 - Feb 10, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    And Kobe wasnt no where near a pair down or a role player lol.

  11. david8726 - Feb 10, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    This had to happen I think. Yea, the guy feuded with Kobe, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was the driving force for three Lakers championships.

    One of the top 5 centers of all time for sure and a top 5 Laker of all time too.

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