The Orlando Magic recently announced that Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey will be the first to be retired by the team, with the ceremony scheduled for February 13. Magic CEO Alex Martins conveyed congratulations to Shaq on behalf of the DeVos family and the entire organization during an appearance on Inside the NBA, highlighting the significant impact O’Neal had on the team during the mid-90s, leading them to a Finals run in 1995.
As the first-overall pick in the 1992 Draft, Shaq played a pivotal role in transforming the Orlando Magic into a serious contender. However, his time in Orlando was relatively short-lived, concluding in 1996 when he joined the Lakers in free agency. Despite his departure, O’Neal’s career continued to flourish, securing four NBA titles – three with the Lakers and one with the Heat.
Interestingly, Shaq has recently expressed his reservations about league-wide jersey retirements. In a recent statement, he conveyed his dislike for the practice, emphasizing the unique identity each franchise builds. Specifically, he mentioned his discomfort with the Miami Heat retiring jerseys of players who did not contribute to the franchise’s original championship legacy, a sentiment expressed in response to the news of Udonis Haslem’s upcoming jersey retirement in January. Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey is already retired by the Heat, making him part of an exclusive group that includes Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.