Shaquille O'Neal gets statue at LSU, touts Lakers memories
It is unclear when a replica of the Big Aristotle will be replicated outside Staples Center.
Shaquille O'Neal agrees with the plan to feature Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the next Laker statue at an undetermined time. But if Louisiana State University's unveiling Friday of its own Shaq statue suggests anything, a Lakers-centric Shaq statue is going to require some heavy lifting.
The thing weighs 900 pounds, inevitably prompting jokes about how close O'Neal will match that weight after retiring this summer after 19 years. Lakers fans remained split on Shaq's legacy. Do they embrace his comedic presence and three NBA championships or wonder whether he could've won more in L.A.? Do they remember all the sniping at Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and Jerry Buss, or has enough time passed to heal all wounds?
The Lakers have publicly embraced O'Neal after his retirement. Buss released a statement thanking him for his contributions. The Lakers plan to retire his jersey number at an undetermined date. And though nothing has been made official, it wouldn't be surprising seeing Shaq's statue outside Staples Center one day.
Enough time has passed for him to wax nostalgic on his time with the Lakers. Consider in a recent interview with Clearwater Patchthat two of his three favorite NBA memories involved his time with the Lakers.
Among the highlights: "When I scored 61 points on my birthday (March 6, 2000, against the L.A. Clippers); winning the three-peat (from 2000-02 wearing a Lakers uniform); and winning the championship with Miami (in 2006)."
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Photo credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times.