There were plenty of Lakers legends involved.
Shaquille O’Neal had his statue unveiling ceremony outside of the Los Angeles Lakers arena on Friday, with speeches from a number of former teammates and iconic Lakers figures. The statue itself is a wonderfully unique design, with O’Neal dunking high up above everyone.
Here it is above O’Neal, portraying him as larger than life as he really was with the Lakers.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 25, 2017
That statue is honestly amazing.
The ceremony began with a number of speeches, including Jeanie Buss, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, and Kobe Bryant. New York Knicks president Phil Jackson even made it back for a speech, skipping a scouting trip to do so.
Phil Jackson opened by telling of the time Shaq came to visit him in Montana, how he both rode jet skis and rapped at a rodeo…
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) March 24, 2017
Abdul-Jabbar joked that some might have thought the chances of Kobe showing up for this were as good as the chances O’Neal would make a free throw, but Bryant was certainly front and center. He called O’Neal the “most dominating player I’ve ever seen” in a fitting tribute.
Kobe calls Shaq “the most dominating player I’ve ever seen.” pic.twitter.com/KFg3iTFxVD
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 25, 2017
Here’s Bryant’s full speech.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 24, 2017
Finally, O’Neal spoke. He shouted out all his teammates that were in attendance, mentioning nearly all of them by name and having them stand up. Bryant received a special shoutout, and O’Neal then thanked Jerry West for originally bringing him to Los Angeles — and also for allowing him to “punch people in the face.”
He also ended it the only way he could.
Congratulations to O’Neal and this incredible new statue.