MIAMI — The Heat announced Monday that they will retire Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32 jersey in a special halftime ceremony on December 22nd at AmericanAirlines Arena when the Heat take on the Los Angeles Lakers. Theceremony, which will be hosted by Heat Television Play-By-Play Announcer, Eric Reid, will include a video presentation and the raising of the No. 32 retirement banner to the rafters of the Arena. O’Neal and Heat President, Pat Riley, are also scheduled to address the fans. In addition, TV broadcast partner, FOX Sports Sun, will air the entire ceremony live on the local television broadcast. O’Neal will become the third Heat player to have his jersey retired, joining Heat greats Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway.
O’Neal’s career spanned 19 seasons as he accumulated four NBA Championships, three NBA Finals MVP’s, 15 All-Star selections, three All-Star MVP’s, a regular season NBA MVP, a NBA Rookie of the Year award and a gold medal with Team USA while being named to 14 All-NBA teams and three NBA All-Defensive teams. O’Neal appeared in 1,207 career regular season NBA games (1,197 starts) and averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.26 blocks and 34.7 minutes while shooting 58.2 percent from the field. His professional career ranks among the best in NBA historywith 28,596 points (seventh), 2,732 blocks (eighth) and 13,099 rebounds (14th).
O’Neal, who was originally acquired by the Heat from the Lakers in a trade on July 14, 2004 and re-signed as a free agent on August 2, 2005, played three and a half seasons in Miami, helping the Heat capture their first NBA championship in 2006. During his time in Miami, the Heat earned three-straight division titles, resulting inthree consecutive postseason berths, including two Eastern Conference championship appearances. He became the first player in Heat history, and only the sixth in NBA history, to shoot at least 60 percent from the field in consecutive seasons, doing so his first two seasons in Miami in 2004-05 and2005-06. He recorded 104 blocks during the 2005-06 campaign, and pairing with Alonzo Mourning’s 173 rejections, they became the first pair of Heat teammates in team history to each block at least 100 shots during the same season. Additionally, he scored his 25,000th career point in a Heat uniform on February 26, 2007, becoming just the 14th player in NBA history to reach the plateau.
O’Neal is still Miami’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (.596) and ranks third in scoring average (19.6), sixth in blocks (384), seventh in free throws attempted (1,708), eighth in offensive rebounds (621), ninth in double-doubles (84), 11th in total rebounds (1,856), 12th in defensive rebounds (1,235), 12th in field goals made (1,612), 13th in free throws made (786), 14th in points (4,010), 14th in double-figure scoring games (191), 14th in starts (203) and 15th in field goals attempted (2,703). Among the Heat’s all-time postseason leaders, O’Neal ranks second in dunks (116), fourth in free throws attempted (315), fifth in double-doubles (15), fifth in double-figure scoring games (37), fifth in 20-point games (16), sixth in field goals made (312), sixth in total rebounds (361), sixth in offensive rebounds (110), sixth in defensive rebounds (251), sixth in blocks (59), seventh in points (751), seventh in free throws made (127), seventh in games started (40), eighth in field goal attempts (531) and ninth in minutes (1,311).