With his own legacy as one of the best to play the game firmly established, O’Neal received the top honor that the Lakers have to give, as a bronze statue of him was unveiled at Staples Center on Friday.
“When I look up at that statue, I will see the kind of talented, passionate and generous man that we’ve been building statues to for 30,000 years,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“And we should all be inspired to be our best selves.” The crowd included the likes of former teammates Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, Gary Payton and Slava Medvedenko, while a horde of Lakers fans outlined the arena, watching on video screens from the “Shaqtown” street festival.
Larger than life.
Abdul-Jabbar’s teammate and current President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson was too busy traveling for his new role to attend, but he did record a video message, telling O’Neal, “you took the city by storm with your play, but also with your personality.” A duo for the ages #LakeShow #TheBigStatue pic.twitter.com/qjpZ1sVcLV “I think they would say, ‘Here’s a guy who played with a lot of force,’” O’Neal said.