Shaq on Why the Magic Jersey Retirement Is the Most Special

Shaq jersey retirement

Shaquille O’Neal became the first Magic player in NBA history to have his jersey retired on Tuesday and he explained why it means more than his other two jersey retirements with the Heat and Lakers.

Shaq didn’t win a title with Orlando, but spent four seasons there and laid the foundation to become one of the greatest big man in NBA history.

“You know, there’s an old saying: Never forget where you come from,” O’Neal said Tuesday’s ceremony.

“And my professional career started here. I’ve been living here mostly all my life. The fans have been hospitable. The people have been very, very hospitable. I never thought this day would happen.”

The center earned Rookie of the Year honors (1993) and led the Magic to the franchise’s first playoff appearance (1994) and first NBA Finals appearance (1995).

O’Neal is one of three NBA players to have his jersey retired by three different franchises since the Lakers retired his No. 34 jersey in April 2013, and the Miami Heat retired his No. 32 jersey in December 2016.

But he says the Magic No.32 jersey means the most.

“Truthfully speaking, this will probably be the most impressive one,” O’Neal said.

He added, “This is where it all started.”

The Magic honored O’Neal as the franchise celebrates its 35th season.

“There’s no one more deserving to be the first than Shaq,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “Shaq put the Orlando Magic on the map. And the foundation of his Hall of Fame career started right here in Orlando.”

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Shaq played in 295 regular-season games for the Magic and remains sixth on the team’s all-time scoring list, despite four of the players ahead of him playing twice as many games for the franchise.

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