Los Angeles Lakers honoured former player Shaquille O’Neal by retiring his jersey No. 34 in a ceremony on Tuesday.
In a pre-recorded video, Kobe Bryant called former teammate O’Neal “the most gifted specimen I’ve ever seen play this game.”
Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson then spoke about O’Neal, who played eight seasons with the Lakers from 1996-2004, wining three titles in four NBA finals appearances.
“Fun, fun, fun, did we have fun!” said Jackson, who received a rapturous welcome from the Staples Center crowd. “For me, Shaquille, I want to thank you for your dedication, leadership and the hard work you put in,” he added.
O’Neal dedicated the night to late Lakers owner Jerry Buss. He thanked his parents and six children.
“It’s a dream come true. It’s a blessing,” O’Neal said of the honour of having his jersey retired. “I didn't do it by myself. I had a lot of help — great teammates, great organisation, the Buss family, great leadership from Phil Jackson.” — AFP