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Friday, March 24, 2017

Statue Unveilings

Okay, so where am I?

According to those who care about me (yeah, yeah, oxymoron) I spend an inordinate amount of time at Staples Center from October to May each year. I mean, who wouldn't? Kings, Lakers, concerts. There's also the Clippers, but no one cares.

Today I'm back at Staples Center—media pass in hand—to cover the unveiling of former Lakers superstar Shaquille O'Neal. If you're not a basketball fan, you still might know him as the player with the most noms de plume in the history of sports:

-The Big Aristotle
-Shaq Daddy
-Wilt Chamberneezy
-Big Shaqtus
-Big Shamrock

Statue unveiling are seldom worthy of a blog column or covering other to see stars are breathe the same air they breathe. I've covered some of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremonies...Jennifer Aniston, Katy Perry, Kate Winslet, LL Cool J, Jeff Lynne, and more...but I always dream of a ceremony like the time Clubber Lang mocked Rocky Balboa in Rocky III. Lang was desperate to get Rocky into the ring and started insulting Adrian:

Hey, woman! Hey, woman. Listen here.
Since your old man ain't got no heart, maybe you wanna see a real man?
I bet you stay up every night dreaming you had a real man, huh?
Bring your pretty little self over to my apartment and I'll show you a real man.

Then it was on. Well, kind of. *-See the clip below to see how to call out someone at a press conference or a statue unveiling. Yet, I digress...

Shaquille O'Neal with his new statue.
Shaq (also a nickname) became the latest Lakers legend to be honored in sculpture form at the Staples Center. Fellow Lakers legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Phil Jackson, Jerry West, and Kobe Bryant joined the fun at an unveiling ceremony, during which the imposing 1,000 pound statue was formally revealed.

This isn't any statue, it's possible the greatest statue in the history of sports tributes.

The mammoth sculpture depicts O’Neal pulling down a basketball rim as a freshly-dunked ball drops through through the rippling net. At almost nine feet tall, the statue is just a bit larger than Shaq himself. It's only fitting that Shaq be honored in bronze. Lakers president Jeanie Buss pointed out that O’Neal broke ground for Staples Center in 1998 and was the leader of a team that brought the venue's its first three titles.

This is the eighth statue honoring a Los Angeles sports icon to be unveiled at the Staples Center’s Star Plaza—though O’Neal is one of the few to have actually played in the building.

Shaq Ceremony Highlights:

* - Clubber Lang provokes Rocky Balboa at his own statue ceremony:

Staples Center Statue Ceremonies:

Luc Robitaille / Los Angeles Kings
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Los Angeles Lakers
Oscar De La Hoya
Jerry West / Los Angeles Lakers
Sorry...didn't cover this one...Wayne Gretzky / / Los Angeles Kings
Marge Hearn with her late husband's statue...Chick Hearn / Los Angeles Lakers 
Magic Johnson / Los Angeles Lakers
Sorry, didn't cover this one either...Los Angeles Kings 50th Anniversary