It has been annoucned that Shaquille O’Neal is being honored for his time on the Orlando Magic. The team will be retiring his number, making him the first player to do so.
The announcement was made during TNT’s Inside the NBA broadcast. Orlando Magic's CEO, Alex Martins, called into the show and shared with O'Neal that his jersey will be hung up in the rafters.
“I hear you’ve been waiting for a phone call from us and the wait is over,” Martins said. “On behalf of the Devos family and myself and all of us here at the Orlando Magic, we want to congratulate you as we make you the first jersey number retired in the history of the Orlando Magic.”
“You had a great career here at the beginning of your career and we had some great times,” he continued. “You took us all the way to the NBA Finals and it’s finally time to put that number up in the rafters.”
Durign the phone call Shaq was seen smiling. As confetti dropped from the ceiling and the room clebrated him, he shed a tear of joy.
O’Neal's mom, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, even sent a few words to the show's production team to air on screen.
“I can remember back when they called your name: ‘Orlando Magic with the first pick…’ and they picked Shaquille O’Neal,” his mom shared.
“We were all so happy for you, as well as excited. And I have to tell you, you made us all proud with all of that joy and excitement you brought to the Orlando community. This award and this recognition is well deserved, so we want you to enjoy it. We’re so proud of you,” she concluded.
O'Neal's time with the Orlando Magic was his first four years in the league.
"It was a great four years there," he recalled durignt he broadcast. "I just wanted to come in and make a name for myself."