HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finally gets his statue and now Shaquille O’Neal and Jamaal Wilkes will get their jerseys, No. 34 and No. 52 respectively, retired to the rafters at Staples Center.
It’s been a pretty good week for former big men toiled for the Los Angeles Lakers at some point during their NBA careers. And it’s going to be a busy season for the Lakers, who are legitimately back in the title hunt (with the additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to their Kobe Bryant–Pau Gasol nucleus) after a two-year hiatus.
Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register served up not only a little perspective, but also some concrete dates as to when all these honors will be unveiled:
There haven’t been many sweet moments between Shaquille O’Neal and the Lakers since his trade in 2004, but the big one will come April 2 at halftime of the game against Dallas.
O’Neal’s No. 34 jersey will be retired, as Lakers owner Jerry Buss promised it would be, and go up on the Staples Center wall along with the Lakers’ other greats. In eight Lakers seasons, O’Neal posted averages of 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.49 blocked shots while winning three NBA championships (2000, 2001 and 2002).
On the wall already by then will be Jamaal Wilkes’ No. 52, scheduled to be retired by the Lakers in an earlier ceremony in the coming season. Wilkes’ honor will be at halftime on Dec. 28 against Portland.
The first reflective moment of the season will be the unveiling of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s statue at Star Plaza outside Staples Center on Nov. 16.
Plans for the statue of Abdul-Jabbar and the jersey retirements for O’Neal and Wilkes were already confirmed last season by the Lakers. Wilkes was selected last season for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Lakers’ policy has been to retire the jerseys of all who are enshrined.
With O’Neal and Abdul-Jabbar taken care of, we started thinking about others in the Lakers’ family tree and how they might be honored. Does Derek Fisher get a small plaque somewhere, a luxury suite named in his honor, anything?
And what about Phil Jackson?
We should probably leave it alone right now and just applaud the Lakers for doing all that they have done for the likes of Magic Johnson and Jerry West and now Kareem, Shaq and Wilkes.