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.
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.
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.