Jimmy Kimmel Surprises NBA Great Shaq with News of Lakers Tribute Statue
Four-time NBA Champion and future Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal got quite the surprise during his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night. Halfway through his segment, Shaq learned he was being honored by the Los Angeles Lakers with a statue of his likenesses outside of the Staples Center in downtown LA. O’Neal’s basketball career spanned 19 years and included being named Rookie of the Year (1993), four NBA Championships, three MVP awards, 15 NBA All-Star games, and even four rap records. He was a dominant force inside the paint during his time with the Lakers, the Orlando Magic, and the Miami Heat. The Lakers have already retired O’Neal’s jersey number, 34.
In December 2015, O’Neal was announced as a nominee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which he was considered a shoe-in. O’Neal’s statue outside the Staples Center will join the likes of other Laker greats, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Jerry West. O’Neal seemed surprised and genuinely touched by the news, repeatedly asking Kimmel if it was joke. “Seriously?” O’Neal asked several times. “Nah, you’re playing.” The host assured O’Neal the statue was for real. The statue will be unveiled during the 2016-2017 NBA season. Congratulations, Shaq. We think that deserves a little shimmy.