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Orlando Magic Will Retire Shaquille O’Neal’s Basketball Jersey

Shaq Diesel's No. 32 will hang from the rafters of the Kia Center.

Maybe one of the most colorful professional basketball players to grace the hardwood is about to get one of the top honors an athlete can get when his uniform number is officially retired by one of the teams he played for. NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal is slated to have his No. 32 basketball jersey retired by the NBA team that drafted him out of LSU (Louisiana State University).

The Orlando Magic announced that the honor will take place on Feb. 13 at the Kia Center next month. Shaq becomes the very first Magic player to have his number raised to the arena’s rafters. The Magic are slated to play Oklahoma City that evening, and the ceremony will take place after the completion of the matchup.

“When someone asks who was the first player to officially put the Orlando Magic on the map, the answer is simple—Shaquille O’Neal,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins in a written statement. “He took this franchise to new heights, both on and off the court, and his legacy is still felt within our organization today. On behalf of the DeVos family, we are excited to honor Shaquille by raising #32 into the rafters of the Kia Center, where it will remain forever.”

Shaq was drafted by the Magic when they used the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. The popular center played for the franchise for four seasons, 1992-96. While playing for the Magic, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year and made the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1992-93. He made the All-Star team every season he was in Orlando and was named to the All-NBA Second Team once (1994-95) and All-NBA Third Team twice (1993-94, 1995-96).

In his four seasons with the team, he started in 295 regular season games, putting up 27.2 points a game, pulling down 12.5 rebounds with 2.79 blocks per contest. He also shot .581 from the floor, averaging 2.4 assists in 37.8 minutes a game.

Although he took the Magic to the NBA championship in 1995, the team was met by a strong Houston Rockets team that featured Hakeem Olajuwon at center, and the Rockets swept the Magic 4-0.

Magic Chairman Dan DeVos said, “Through his dominating play, larger-than-life personality, and generous contributions to The City Beautiful, Shaquille O’Neal had a transformational impact on this team and this town. Our family and the entire franchise couldn’t be more pleased for Shaquille to receive this well-deserved honor, further cementing his enduring legacy here in Orlando as we collectively look back on his tremendous accomplishments in a Magic uniform.”

The game will be shown on TNT, where Shaq is the network announcer. The contest will start at 7:30 p.m. EST, and immediately after the game is over, the retirement ceremony will take place.

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