I think the post Los Angeles Lakers career of Shaquille O’Neil really has hurt his overall legacy. Especially given the contentious post LA relationship of Shaq and Kobe Bryant. I think the way that all of that went down really turned off a lot of Lakers fans to Shaq. Some fans have a hard time remembering that when Shaq was with the Lakers he was an almost unstoppable force. Without a doubt one of the best players in the NBA, and he helped that team win three NBA championships.
Given all that, I was sort of surprised that the Lakers have already announced that they will retire the #34 in Shaq’s honor. Granted it is the right thing to do without a doubt but I still think a large portion of Lakers fans who are Kobe fanatics will not like that the team has already made this decision.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I think this team will wait until Kobe is no longer on their roster before paying Shaq this ultimate respect. While the Lakers are doing the right thing I think the Orland Magic should immediately retire Shaq’s #32 as that franchise likely would not have survived had Shaq not become a superstar and put them on the map.
Since Shaq also played for the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics we could debate if any of those teams should retire Shaq’s number as well. I think we could make a case that the Heat should, but beyond that we would be getting into the ridiculous. Since he only won one title in Miami I don’t think they will.