Jerry Buss, the franchise owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, said the team will "forever be grateful" to Shaquille O'Neal, for eight years L.A.'s All-Star center, who on Wednesday announced he will retire from the NBA after 19 seasons. Shaq chose the Lakers in free agency in 1996 and won three NBA championships and an MVP award in Los Angeles before being traded to the Miami Heat in 2004 amid drama with co-star Kobe Bryant.
In statement released on the Lakers' website, Buss expressed his gratitude for Shaq.
"Shaq had a long and amazing career, with a huge impact both on and off the court," the statement read. "His contributions were significant to the entire NBA, but we specifically appreciate what he did with and what he meant to the Lakers during his eight years with us. We have three championships that we wouldn’t have won without him, and we will forever be grateful for his significant contributions to those teams."