(LOS ANGELES) — The man with too many nicknames to count — Shaq, Superman, The Big Shaqtus and The Big Daddy among others — will have his No. 34 jersey retired and lifted into the rafters of the Staples Center.
The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Thursday that former center Shaquille O’Neal will have his number retired sometime next season, but a specific date will not be planned until the NBA releases the 2012-13 schedule this summer.
After a 19-year Hall of Fame-worthy NBA career, O’Neal will have to think of another nickname for his jersey’s retirement.
During O’Neal’s eight seasons in Los Angeles (1996-2004), the Lakers made the Finals four times, winning three championships. He also led the league in scoring while being named regular season MVP in 1999-00.
He’ll be the eighth player in Lakers franchise history to have his jersey retired, joining Jerry West (No. 44), James Worthy (No. 42), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (No. 33), Magic Johnson (No. 32), Gail Goodrich (No. 25), Elgin Baylor (No. 22), and Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13).
It wasn’t always a perfect relationship for O’Neal with former teammate Kobe Bryant during his days in Los Angeles, but Bryant said after the Lakers Thursday night win in Boston that this was well deserved.
Only one question remains, what will the next nickname be for O’Neal? “The Big Rafter”?
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire