5. Larger Than Life
The Big Statue. That is another nickname Shaquille O’Neal can add to his ever increasing rotation of alternate names. The Los Angeles Lakers president Jeannie Buss announced on the Jimmy Kimmel Show Wednesday night (who ever thought breaking sports news would come from Kimmel?) that the team will unveil Shaq’s statue next season adding to an impressive collection of bronze immortals outside the Staples Center. Shaq will join the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Chick Hearn, and eventually his former partner in crime, Kobe Bryant.
For those not too familiar with Shaq as a Laker let’s quickly run down what he accomplished during his eight seasons in Hollywood–three NBA titles, two MVP awards (one Finals MVP) and seven All-Star selections. For many hoops fans, like myself, Shaq (along with Kobe obviously) was one of the more polarizing Lakers since Magic Johnson retired and the superstar that helped usher in the Staples Center. His playoff career in Los Angeles was one to marvel at as he averaged an insane 30 points and 15 rebounds per game for all three title runs.
He is up for the Hall of Fame this season and he has already said he plans to go in as a Laker if voted in. One of the most dominant players to ever set foot on a basketball court Shaq is right where he belongs–among legends.