The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2016-17 season probably won’t last past April, given their current level of play — but when March rolls around, fans of the purple and gold will have reason to celebrate anyway.
On Tuesday, the Lakers announced they will officially unveil Shaquille O’Neal’s statue outside Staples Center on Mar. 24, 2017. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you might want to start looking for tickets to that night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and if you’re elsewhere in the world, it might be time to look into travel accommodations:
As a tribute to the larger-than-life Laker great, whose career with the organization produced three NBA Championships, the Los Angeles Lakers, STAPLES Center, and AEG organizations commissioned the creation of a 1,200 pound, nine-foot bronze statue of the NBA Hall of Fame member. O’Neal’s statue will be connected to STAPLES Center, suspended 10 feet above the ground, at Star Plaza.
O’Neal was a member of the Lakers from 1996-2004, leading the team to three consecutive NBA Championships from 2000-2002, winning the NBA Finals MVP award each time. A seven-time All-Star for the Purple & Gold, O’Neal was also named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2000.
O’Neal joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wayne Gretzky, Chick Hearn, Oscar De La Hoya, Magic Johnson and Jerry West as Los Angeles sports greats immortalized with statues outside of Staples Center.
Shaq’s statue, though, will be unlike any of the others outside of the arena. In fact, the 1,200-pound, 9-foot version will tower over fans at the height of a regulation basket:
O’Neal’s statue will be connected to STAPLES Center, suspended 10 feet above the ground, at Star Plaza.