It was all about Shaq this past weekend. The retired Los Angeles Lakers player was honored with a statue and ceremony at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Friday.
All of Shaq’s kids were present to witness the City of Angels recognize their father for his hard work on the basketball court and in the community. The Lakers gave their former star player a festival that they called “Shaqtown” in which families were invited to enjoy activities free of charge. Large throwback photos of Shaq wearing his retired jersey filled the space outside of the Staples Center, and a video board was used to highlight the greatest moments of the former NBA player’s eight seasons.
The highlight of the evening came when officials unveiled a larger-than-life Flying High Statue dedicated to Shaq. Several of the star athlete’s teammates joined the crowd in congratulating Shaq on becoming the fifth Lakers player to receive legendary status in the form of an effigy.
“I learned so much from you as a player,” Kobe Bryant said at Friday’s ceremony. “Everything you’ve done for a city and everything you’ve done for this franchise.”
Shaq responded to Kobe’s praise by telling the retired team captain, “We pushed each other. We had our battles. We had our times. But we always had respect for each other. We won three championships. I couldn’t have won without you.”
Shaq signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996. He along with his team made their mark in history by winning three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Shaq is the proud father of six kids.
Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP