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NBA: Shaquille O’Neal becomes the first player to have his jersey number retired in Orlando Magic history

<p>In many respects, Shaquille O’Neal was Orlando’s first. first overall draft choice, ranked #1. The first Magic player to be selected for an All-Star squad. The season’s first rookie. first NBA All-Star choice. was the first major celebrity to quit the team.</p>
<p>That latter portion is what he thought may be costly.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-407350″ src=”” alt=” nba shaquille oneal becomes the first player to have his jersey number retired in” width=”1007″ height=”671″ title=”NBA: Shaquille O'Neal becomes the first player to have his jersey number retired in Orlando Magic history 6″ srcset=” 510w,–150×100.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 1007px) 100vw, 1007px” /></p>
<p>O’Neal had no idea that the Magic would hoist his jersey to the arena’s ceiling. He was mistaken, however, as Orlando retired O’Neal’s No. 32 on Tuesday night, marking both a franchise first and a first for the club. Even after the Magic lost to Oklahoma City, the majority of spectators remained for the postgame ceremony.</p>
<p>O’Neal said, “You know, there’s an old saying: Never forget where you come from.” And here is where my professional career began. I’ve spent the most of my life here. The supporters have been kind. The hospitality of the locals has been extraordinary. I never imagined that today would arrive.</p>
<p>O’Neal was selected by the 35-year-old Magic as the first overall pick in 1992. Although they’ve never retired a player’s number, they felt that their anniversary season was the appropriate moment. Tuesday night, a large number of O’Neal’s old Orlando teammates, including Nick Anderson, Dennis Scott, and Penny Hardaway, were there. During the event, O’Neal called Anderson up to the stage and told him that the Magic should have retired his jersey first.</p>
<p>Shaq is the only one who deserves to be the first, according to Magic CEO Alex Martins. “Shaq made the Orlando Magic famous.” And it was in Orlando that his Hall of Fame career got its start.</p>
<p>Along with Wilt Chamberlain and Pete Maravich, O’Neal is the third player to have his jersey honored by three different teams. His numbers 34 and 32 are retired by the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, respectively.</p>
<p>The Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, and Lakers have retired Chamberlain’s No. 13. Maravich never played for the Atlanta Hawks, but his No. 44 and No. 7 have been honored by the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans, respectively. He played for the Jazz and attended LSU, therefore his number is retired in New Orleans.</p>
<p>According to O’Neal, “it means that every franchise you played for, they enjoyed you.” “You were liked by the fans. You were liked by the people. They were grateful for your diligence.</p>
<p>Eleven players have had their jerseys retired by two of the teams they played for: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Elvin Hayes, Bob Lanier, Moses Malone, Earl Monroe, Dikembe Mutombo, Oscar Robertson, Nate Thurmond, and Charles Barkley. Barkley and O’Neal are also members of Turner Sports’ “Inside The NBA” group, which has won several awards.</p>
<p>Numerous more players have received honors from several teams or in various contexts. Following the Hall of Famer’s passing, Commissioner Adam Silver retired Bill Russell’s No. 6 for the entire league, with Boston being the first team to do so. Although he never played there, Miami retired Michael Jordan’s No. 23 jersey. The Lakers retired Kobe Bryant’s numbers eight and twenty-four.</p>
<p>Following O’Neal’s acquisition, the Magic finished 70-176 in their first three seasons, 50-32 in his second season and made their first playoff appearance, 57-25 in 1994–95 and 60-22, still the franchise record for wins, in his fourth and final season with Orlando.</p>
<p>O’Neal was placed on a throne near center court for the ceremony, which was large enough to make the 7-footer seem little. O’Neal relished every story that was told, even the one about his showing up in the Walt Disney World city wearing Mickey Mouse ears, which appeared to excite the gathering.</p>
<p>About an hour after the game concluded, the flag was raised during a pyrotechnics spectacular in a darkened venue.</p>
<p>Cheers often overshadowed O’Neal’s statement, “There’s no other place I would have wanted to start my career.” “I will always hold a particular place in my heart for Orlando.”</p>
<p>Orlando taught O’Neal how to be a pro. He said that he and his family spent the first few months of their stay in the city staying at an airport hotel. When Scott finally convinced O’Neal that he needed to purchase a home, O’Neal claimed to have accrued a $900,000 hotel bill.</p>
<p>Speaking reverently about his time in Orlando, O’Neal has now seen four jersey retirements (LSU, three NBA franchises, and himself) and he made no secret of the significance of this one.</p>
<p>O’Neal said, “To be honest, this will probably be the most impressive one.”</p>
<p>After playing 295 regular-season games with the Magic, O’Neal departed Orlando to join the Lakers in 1995–96. He is still third all-time in rebounds with the Magic, but he is still sixth on the team’s all-time scoring chart (four of the five players ahead of him played in at least twice as many games for Orlando).</p>
<p>O’Neal said, “This is where it all started.”</p>
<p>And it’s where his phone number fluctuates.</p>

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