It seems like the Los Angeles Lakers are still not satisfied with the statues they have surrounding Staples Center. This is evident by the team's announcement that they will officially unveil a 1,200 pound, 9-foot bronze statue of Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal outside Staples Center before the team's game against Minnesota Timberwolves on March 24, 2017. That also means, fans of the purple and gold might need to consider and look into travel accommodations as early as now.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 20, 2016
According to ESPN, O'Neal played with the Lakers from 1996-2004, winning three consecutive NBA championships from 2000-2002, along with Finals MVP honors in each title run. He was also named an All-Star seven times with the Lakers and 15 times overall. After losing to the Detroit Pistons during the Finals in 2004 plus the constant clashes with Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant, O'Neal was traded to Miami, where he won a title in 2006.
Fox Sports add that O'Neal joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wayne Gretzky, Chick Hearn, Oscar De La Hoya, Magic Johnson and Jerry West as Los Angeles immortalize sports legends with statues outside of Staples Center. O'Neal's statue was commissioned by the Lakers, Staples Center and AEG organizations. Similar with the creators of the statues of Lakers legends, Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amran also created O'Neal's bronze statue.
Furthermore, O'Neal's statue, which shows him dunking, will be connected to Staples Center. To avoid making things a little too cluttered outside of the arena, the statue will be suspended 10 feet above the ground, at Star Plaza. The ceremony will be free and open to the public, and it will feature speeches from O'Neal, his teammates, colleagues and friends. The statue will also culminate a banner year for O'Neal, as he was inducted into the Hall-of-Fame in September, and will have his jersey retired by the Miami Heat on December 22. Meanwhile, watch O'Neal first reaction after learning that he will have his own larger-than-life statue outside Staples Center.
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