Magic to retire Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32 jersey in ceremony Feb. 13

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Shaquille O’Neal’s number will be retired Feb. 13 by the Orlando Magic, who will become the third NBA franchise to give that tribute to the four-time champion and Basketball Hall of Famer.

O’Neal will be the first player to get a jersey number — he wore No. 32 in Orlando — retired by the Magic. The Los Angeles Lakers retired his No. 34 jersey in April 2013, and the Miami Heat retired his No. 32 jersey in December 2016. O’Neal won three titles with the Lakers, and another with the Heat.

“When someone asks who was the first player to officially put the Orlando Magic on the map, the answer is simple — Shaquille O’Neal,” Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “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 No. 32 into the rafters of the Kia Center, where it will remain forever.”

O’Neal was the No. 1 pick in the 1992 NBA draft by the Magic, and he spent his first four pro seasons in Orlando before leaving for the Lakers in 1996. He was the NBA’s rookie of the year for Orlando in 1993, was an All-Star in all four of his seasons with the Magic, led them to their first NBA Finals in 1995 and still ranks among the franchise’s career leaders in several categories, including blocked shots (second, 824), rebounds (third, 3,691) and points scored (sixth, 8,019).

The decision was announced on TNT’s “NBA Tip-Off” on Thursday, the show that O’Neal has been part of for several years. O’Neal said he was particularly thankful for Rich DeVos — the original owner of the Magic, who died in 2018 — for bringing him to Orlando.

“It was a great four years there,” O’Neal said on the show. “I just wanted to come in and just make a name for myself. … I’d like to thank the city of Orlando, like to thank the Orlando Magic organization. Appreciate you very much.”

The Magic have seen three other players wear No. 32 since O’Neal left there in 1996. Jeremy Richardson donned it for 12 games in the 2008-09 season, Justin Harper wore it for 14 games in the 2011-12 season and C.J. Watson had it for 95 games over two seasons from 2015 through 2017.

The retirement ceremony will follow Orlando’s game against Oklahoma City, one that will be televised on TNT. O’Neal went into the Magic Hall of Fame in 2015, the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 and was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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