NBA franchise Orlando Magic retire Shaquille O'Neal's jersey

February 14, 2024, 10:19 pm

<p>Shaquille O'Neal <em>(Anadolu photo)</em></p>

Shaquille O'Neal (Anadolu photo)

ANKARA – The Orlando Magic retired the No. 32 jersey of legendary US center Shaquille O'Neal on Tuesday, the NBA franchise confirmed.

"This, truthfully speaking, is the most impressive," said O'Neal, who witnessed his jersey retired for the third time by an NBA franchise after the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. "This one, I didn't (expect). To start here, to put in the work, to play here for four years, and to be honored this way, this will probably be the most special one."

"Orlando will forever hold a special place in my heart. I will always be proud to be part of this Magic franchise ... I want to thank (my teammates). Without (them), there would be no me," O'Neal said during a ceremony that the Magic raised his No. 32 jersey to the rafters of the Kia Center.

Celebrating their 35th NBA season, the Magic picked O'Neal No. 1 overall in the 1992 NBA Draft.

O'Neal, 51, was a Magic player in 1992 to 1996 before joining the Lakers.

"Shaq put the Orlando Magic on the map," Magic CEO Alex Martins said. "The foundation of his Hall-of-Fame career started right here in Orlando in his first four seasons. All of the accolades and all of the awards that he received over the course of his career started here."

O'Neal has averaged 27.2 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game in 295 regular season games for Orlando.

He was also named an NBA All-Star four times as a member of the Magic.

O'Neal later clinched four NBA titles, including three in a row with the Lakers from 2000 to 2002 and one with the Miami Heat in 2006.

The 15-time All-Star is a famous figure both on and off the court, having appeared in different media outlets, such as movies, video games, commercials, and talk shows. (Anadolu)