LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A nine-foot 1,200-pound bronze statue of Hall of Fame Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal was unveiled Friday outside Staples Center.
Several Laker greats along with plenty of fans were on hand for the debut of the statue, which will be connected to the Staples Center building and hang 10 feet above the ground in Star Plaza, according to Michael Roth of AEG, the sports and
music entertainment presenter that owns the arena.
Created by Julie Rotblatt Amrany and Omri Amrany, the statue will join those of other sports icons in Star Plaza, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Chick Hearn, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Luc Robitaille and Jerry West.
Saying he was “speechless”, O’Neal tweeted out a sneak preview of the statue Wednesday.
O’Neal, along with Kobe Bryant, former coach Phil Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and others are scheduled to speak at the 5 p.m. ceremony, which is free of admission and open to the public.
Before the ceremony, were invited to enjoy a street festival dubbed “Shaqtown,” held on Chick Hearn Court
and Microsoft Square at L.A. Live 2-7 p.m.
The festival included a variety of interactive games, including Fireball Alley, Block-A-Shaq and Plinko, a Hall of Fame exhibit, specialty photo opportunities, a Ferris wheel, a mini Lakers basketball court and live deejay music.
Considered one of the greatest centers of all time, O’Neal played for the Lakers from 1996-2004, leading the team to three
consecutive NBA championships from 2000-2002, winning the NBA Finals MVP award each time.
As a Laker, O’Neal was selected for the All-Star Game seven times and earned the league’s MVP for the 1999-2000 season.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)