June 16, 2024

Shaquille O’Neal was the No. 1 total choose of the Orlando Magic in 1992 and, together with Penny Hardaway, helped take the workforce to new heights and an NBA Finals look early in his profession.

O’Neal’s high-profile exit following the 1995-96 season and eventual settlement to hitch the Los Angeles Lakers could have left a bitter style within the mouths of followers and Magic officers. 

However all that seems to be water underneath the bridge.

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Shaquille O’Neal of the Orlando Magic poses for a portrait Oct. 29, 1993, in London. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE through Getty Photographs)

O’Neal would be the first participant in Magic historical past to have his uniform quantity retired. He wore No. 32 with Orlando. The ceremony will happen Feb. 13.

Invoice Russell’s No. 6 is retired by all NBA groups, however the legendary middle by no means performed for Orlando. 

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“When somebody asks who was the primary participant to formally put the Orlando Magic on the map, the reply is easy — Shaquille O’Neal,” Magic CEO Alex Martins stated in a information launch. 

“He took this franchise to new heights, each on and off the courtroom, and his legacy remains to be felt inside our group right this moment. On behalf of the DeVos household, we’re excited to honor Shaquille by elevating No. 32 into the rafters of the Kia Middle, the place it would stay perpetually.”

Shaq in 2015

Shaquille O’Neal smiles as he’s inducted into the Orlando Magic Corridor of Fame on the Amway Middle March 27, 2015, in Orlando, Fla.  (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune Information Service through Getty Photographs)

O’Neal was the 1992-93 NBA Rookie of the 12 months and an All-Star in every of his 4 seasons there. He helped Orlando get previous the dynastic Chicago Bulls even with the return of Michael Jordan.

He averaged 27.2 factors and 12.5 rebounds per recreation with Orlando.

“It was an awesome 4 years there,” O’Neal stated on TNT. “I simply needed to return in and simply make a reputation for myself. … I’d prefer to thank the town of Orlando, prefer to thank the Orlando Magic group. Recognize you very a lot.”

He added that he was notably grateful to the late Wealthy DeVos for bringing him to Orlando.

Shaq vs. 76ers

Shaquille O’Neal (32) of the Orlando Magic drives in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers throughout a recreation on the Spectrum in Philadelphia. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE through Getty Photographs)

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Since O’Neal left, three different Magic gamers have worn No. 32 — Jeremy Richardson (2008-09), Justin Harper (2011-12) and C.J. Watson (2015 to 2017).

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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