Lakers to unveil Shaquille O’Neal’s statue on March 24

first_imgThe ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and will be open to the public. Then, O’Neal, former teammates, colleagues and friends will speak about his 20-year NBA career, which included 15 All-Star appearances and a seventh place standing on the league’s all-time scoring list (28,596 points). The statue will be unveiled at approximately 6:05 p.m.Homecoming KingThe crowd cheered loudly, and Lakers forward Brandon Ingram had not even scored a basket. But that’s okay. The nearly 450 fans from Kinston, N.C. attending the Lakers-Hornets game on Tuesday in Charlotte mostly wanted to see their hometown hero. “Where I’m from, you probably know everybody,” Ingram said. “I knew just about everyone there.”Ingram wasn’t exaggerating. Kinston boasts about 20,000 residents, meaning that nearly 2.5 percent of the city’s population made the four-hour drive to the game as part of “Kinston Teens.” Through that, fans from Ingram’s hometown received discounted tickets and had a meet-and-greet before the game. Ingram made a birthday wish come true to an unnamed elderly man that he said had been to every one of his games at Kinston High School. “I set the inspiration that you can make it out of my hometown by just putting the work in and staying the course,” Ingram said. “Everything that I do, it’s showing that anybody can make it out of my hometown.” Staying preparedThe smile on Julius Randle’s face told the whole story. He understandably feels “very excited” he will soon be a father to his baby boy, Kyden. Lakers coach Luke Walton granted Randle to go to Los Angeles on Sunday to support his fiancé. “Really nice. That’s my guy. He took care of me,” Randle said of Walton. “I got to go home to take care of some things and I’m back here with my guys.”Randle also joked his soon-to-be born son “needs to make up his mind on what he wants to do.” Walton, who has two children including newborn Landen, offered three words of advice to Randle.“Just be supportive,” Walton said. CHARLOTTE, N.C. >> The Lakers have scheduled something for late March, and it’s a safe bet many of their fans will dig it.Former Lakers and Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal will have his bronze statue unveiled in Star Plaza at Staples Center on March 24, 2017 before the team’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.In a tribute to O’Neal’s commanding 7-foot-1, 325-pound frame, the 1,200 pound, 9-foot statue of O’Neal dunking will be connected to Staples Center and suspended 10 feet above the ground at Star Plaza. After the Lakers acquired him as a free agent in 1996, O’Neal used that presence to win three of his four NBA titles, a regular-season MVP and three NBA Finals MVPs with the Lakers (1996-2004). The Lakers then traded him to the Miami Heat amid concerns about his long-term durability and frequent clashes with Kobe Bryant.O’Neal will be the fifth member with the Lakers to have a statue outside of Staples Center, including former center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Nov. 2012), former guard and executive Jerry West (Feb. 2011), the late broadcaster Chick Hearn (April 2010) and former guard Magic Johnson (Feb. 2004). Staples Center also features statues of former Kings Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille and world champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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