Shaquille O’Neal’s Laker Jersey Retirement Summed Up in One Word: Awkward

If Steve Carell's socially unaware character of Michael Scott from The Office could script an extremely awkward NBA jersey retirement ceremony, this would have been it.

On April 2nd, 2013 the Los Angeles Lakers retired Shaquille O'Neal's No. 34 in one of the most bizarre evenings in NBA history.

As Shaq's number was immortalized in the Staples Center rafters, the three-ring circus that the Lakers cannot seem to escape was on full display.


Kobe's Omnipresent Frenemy Shadow

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant hated each other as teammates wearing the purple and gold. There is no need to beat around the bush or pretend the animosity never existed simply because a jersey retirement is supposed to be a happy occasion.

So how do the Lakers kick off Shaq's big night?

By allowing his nemesis Kobe Bryant to preside over the proceedings with a prerecorded message broadcast over the jumbotron.

Kobe rambled about Shaq being an unstoppable physical specimen, but he never complimented the Diesel for his work ethic, dedication or focus, which was obviously at the root of the bitterness between the two. At best, Kobe gave him a couple of backhanded compliments and nothing more.

Shaq must have been seething inside as his big night was turned over to a former teammate he genuinely dislikes. O'Neal probably didn't want Kobe invited to his party, and now he was suddenly the emcee. 



So Shaq Likes to Get Naked

The awkwardness continued as former coach Phil Jackson focused his remarks on Shaq's greatest legacy as a Laker:


Yes, nudity. Phil told two stories about Shaq's time with the Lakers, and both ended with O'Neal undressed. First, Shaq once came to practice wearing only sneakers. Second, Shaq mooned the Sacramento Kings in 2002.

Thanks for the titles, Shaq. Those were s...

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