On a night when the Lakers playoff hopes took a leap forward and Kobe Bryant posted his 19th career triple double, the Lakers victory over the Dallas Mavericks was secondary. Tuesday night, Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey joined the pantheon of legends who have their jerseys hanging from the Staples Center rafters. O’Neal’s Laker career didn’t end amicably in 2004, but time has mended his relationship with his former adversary Bryant and the organization that traded him.

 

Bryant likes to remind people that he has one more ring than O’Neal, and in a few years he’ll get to brag about getting more of his jerseys in the rafters than any Laker in history. After all, the Lakers have an obligation to retire both No. 8 and 24.

 

 


He may have laid his grudge with Bryant to rest, but on the night that his jersey was retired O’Neal also took the opportunity to take a stab at Dwight Howard when asked about the Lakers' future title aspirations.


"The other guy needs to step into his own,” O’Neal said. "I would like to see him average 28 (points) and 10 (rebounds)."

 

He'd never aknowledge listening to O'Neal, but Howard responded on the floor with 24 and 12 to poke a hole in the Mavs' slim playoff hopes. However, aside from Phil Jackson, no other Laker greats or ex-teammates were present for O’Neal’s retirement ceremony. After the game, O'Neal tweeted out his own message to the fans...and Kobe.

Almost 20 years after Kazaam and Steel, he’s still not done making subpar movies. TNT premiered the trailer for the Grown Ups sequel, starring The Big Thespian. O'Neal gave an assist to the film's publicity by shouting out Adam Sandler during his speech before it premiered during the break.

Shaq is the ninth Laker player to get his jersey hung from the rafters. O'Neal kept alluding to the expedient retirement of his jersey two years after he hung up his size 22s permanently. To get a perspective on how uncommon that is, keep in mind that Jamaal Wilkes’ jersey wasn’t retired until December 28, 2012. That’s 27 years after he retired in 1985.

 

Here are moving pictures from Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s jersey retirement ceremony. It took a few more years for the Lakers to get his statue bronzed. If you clicked on the link, you'll notice they honored Abdul-Jabbar before tip-off so Magic could speak at his ceremony. The highlight comes at the 8:22 mark when Johnson quotes Tina Turner.

Conversely, Bryant spent O'Neal’s entire jersey retirement ceremony in the locker room. On February 16, 1992, just three months after he announced his retirement from the NBA due to his AIDS diagnosis, the Lakers also retired Magic Johnson’s jersey. It was a somber affair because nobody was sure how long Johnson would live, but in retrospect Chick Hearn’s commentary on Larry Bird’s bad back after his lonnngg flight to LA to Norm Nixon’s knee added a shade of unintentional comedy to the entire affair.

Of all the bigwig Hollywood fans O’Neal gave a nod to, he purposely left out Larry David.