Said Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss:
We look forward to having Shaq join the other legends who have been honored with statues at STAPLES Center. He is a giant not only in size, but also in stature and in what he accomplished as a Laker. Shaq literally broke the ground for the site, and was hugely responsible for not only getting STAPLES Center built, but for making it one of the most successful and famous arenas in the world. It's an honor that is well deserved.
A screen shot captured by Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News indicated O'Neal was surprised with the news during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!:
Brad Townsend @townbrad
Only in Holywood. @SHAQ finds out on @jimmykimmel Lakers will erect statue of him outside Staples, sees rendering. https://t.co/ysY0FdNMnA2016-1-28 05:14:08
Shaq joins Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn as the only people affiliated with the purple and gold to be immortalized with statues outside Staples Center.
O'Neal was one of the most dominant players ever to don a Lakers uniform, and his status as a low-post anchor alongside Kobe Bryant helped the Lakers three-peat with NBA Finals victories over the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets.
However, his career in L.A. came to a bit of an unceremonious end when he was traded to the Miami Heat following the Lakers' 2004 NBA Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons.
Hawks Fans Keep Getting Burned by Hot Sauce
Relive AI and Kobe Facing Off in the ASG
Who Is the Dancing Rockets Fan?
30 Years Ago Today MJ Took Flight
Teams That Must Make a Deal at Trade Deadline
How a 7-Foot Farmer Became Iceland's NBA Prospect
MJ Superfan Gets Crying LeBron Tattoo
Panic Time for Cavs, but What Can They Do?
Beck Reveals His 2018 NBA All-Star Ballot
Time for the Grizzlies to Trade Marc Gasol
I.T. Now the Biggest Question Mark of the Season
The Night in the NBA: Beasley Gets MVP Chants, DeRozan Drops 45 and More
Still Too Soon to Declare Anything About Any Rookie
We Owe the Indiana Pacers an Apology
B/R Looks Back on Tracy McGrady Scoring 13 Points in 35 Seconds in 2004
Tracy McGrady Scored the Most Impressive 13 Points of His Career in 35 Seconds
Butler Is the NBA's Biggest Country Music Fan
On This Day in 2012, Kobe Joined Elite NBA Club
NBA Handshake Fails
Is It Officially Panic Time in OKC?
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Shaq ranks second in Lakers history with a scoring average of 27 points per game. His field-goal percentage of 57.5 in purple and gold also ranks second, behind Wilt Chamberlain (60.5 percent).
Furthermore, Shaq ranks sixth in total rebounds (6,090), seventh in points scored (13,895) and second in blocks (1,278) despite playing just eight full seasons in Hollywood. O'Neal is also the Lakers' all-time leader in player efficiency rating with a mark of 28.9.
Shaq led the NBA in field-goal percentage during six of his eight seasons with the Lakers and averaged a league-leading 29.7 points en route to capturing MVP honors following the 1999-00 campaign.
A three-time Finals MVP who helped usher in a prosperous new era of Lakers basketball, O'Neal is more than deserving of the statue coming to Staples Center.
The only question now revolves around where Bryant's eventual statue will sit in relation to Shaq's outside the hardwood the Lakers call home.