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    Shaquille O’Neal Honoured by Orlando Magic with Jersey Retirement Ceremony

    February 15, 2024

    In a historic night for the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32 jersey was retired, marking a series of firsts for both the team and its inaugural superstar. O’Neal, who was the Magic’s first No. 1 overall draft pick, first All-Star, first Rookie of the Year, and first All-NBA selection, added another first to his list as his jersey was raised to the rafters of the arena.

    This event, occurring after the Magic’s game against Oklahoma City, saw a majority of fans staying to witness the momentous occasion, despite the team’s loss.

    Reflecting on his career and the unexpected honor, O’Neal shared, “You know, there’s an old saying: Never forget where you come from. And my professional career started here. I’ve been living here mostly all my life. The fans have been hospitable. The people have been very, very hospitable. I never thought this day would happen.”

    His sentiments captured the depth of his connection to Orlando, where his illustrious NBA journey began following his selection in the 1992 draft.

    The ceremony, celebrated during the Magic’s 35th season, was attended by several of O’Neal’s former teammates, including Penny Hardaway, Dennis Scott, and Nick Anderson. O’Neal, in a heartfelt moment, brought Anderson to the lectern, suggesting that Anderson himself deserved the honor of being the first Magic player to have his jersey retired.

    Magic CEO Alex Martins emphasized O’Neal’s impact, stating, “There’s no one more deserving to be the first than Shaq. Shaq put the Orlando Magic on the map. And the foundation of his Hall of Fame career started right here in Orlando.”

    O’Neal’s jersey retirement by the Magic adds to his existing honors, including his No. 34 jersey retired by the Los Angeles Lakers and No. 32 by the Miami Heat, making him the third player in history to have his jersey retired by three franchises.

    This exclusive club also includes legends like Wilt Chamberlain and Pete Maravich, underscoring the widespread appreciation and acknowledgment of O’Neal’s contributions to the game.

    Reflecting on the significance of these honors, O’Neal expressed, “It means that every franchise you played for, they enjoyed you. The fans enjoyed you. The people enjoyed you. They appreciated your hard work.”

    His tenure with the Magic was transformative for both him and the team, leading them from a 41-41 record in his rookie year to a franchise-record 60 wins in his final season before moving to the Lakers.

    The ceremony itself was a grand affair, with O’Neal seated on a throne next to center court, reminiscing about his early days in Orlando and the journey that followed. The event culminated in the hoisting of his banner, accompanied by fireworks, as the crowd celebrated the legacy of a player who had a profound impact on the franchise and the city.

    O’Neal’s jersey retirement by the Orlando Magic not only commemorates his extraordinary contributions on the court but also cements his place in the heart of the city where his professional career took off. “Orlando will always have a special place in my heart,” O’Neal concluded.

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    Written by DafaNews

    DafaNews brings you the most highlighted news in the world of Sports. It serves you up-to-date matches, scores, live streams, fantasy games and quizzes. Our news covers prestigious leagues and events – Premier League, Champions League, World Cup and many more.

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