Hollywood boulevard had a star on it’s Walk Of Fame last night even bigger than the Hollywood sign itself.
Even for you Fallon fans, the Jimmy Kimmell show is always going to be entertaining for your late night…especially when he has a big guest on.
And it doesn’t get much bigger-especially in the city of Los Angeles-than THE big aristotle Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq was back last night and it made for quite the show and trend on Twitter. There were no mean tweets to be read last night, however as the talk show host and NBA legend shared legacy and memory.
First they talked about the upcoming Hall Of Fame and O’Neal’s eligibility and possibility of bounding down that classic court corridor this September. Mid-February’s All-Star weekend in our Toronto, Canada will reveal all, but no matter what when Shaquille goes in, he’ll be going in wearing purple and gold.
Which led the host and guest to their next topic. The honor of Shaquille O’Neal’s purple and gold number 34 joining Magic’s 32, Kareem’s 33 and we’re sure one day Kobe’s 24, or 8…or both amongst others in the retired rafters of the the banner waving part of the STAPLES Centre he helped build.
Speaking of which, Kimmell then started talking about the statues of the Laker legends that join the bronzed Ice Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Boxer Oscar Dey La Hoya and legendary Laker announcer Chick Hearn outside the Hotel Figueroa facing entrance of the Lakers, Clippers and L.A. Kings home. Putting them up on the big screen for the audience, Jimmy started with the logo Jerry West, than the Magic man Earvin Johnson and the most recent addition of his sky-hooking teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But every 33 deserves a bigger 34 and as a fourth photo appeared on screen if a confused Shaq still didn’t know what was going on he was about to.
As a bronzed artist rendition of a Shaq statue, dunking on a broken backboard with classic two handed, legs up posture, reminiscent of his alma mater LSU’s high school statue tribute appeared on the screen of a STAPLES backdrop, O’Neal’s expression changed. You could see his surprise and welled up emotion that he tried to contain like the confusion he tried to change and if you were a cheering Laker fan you might have wanted to check your eyes. Looking as happy as the “Me?” day this little warrior got drafted out of LSU, Shaquille couldn’t believe it! “You’re kidding me” he kept asking a Jimmy Kimmell he thought he was getting played by. But the Late Night host knew better than that. He was serious and before Wilt, Elgin, Worthy or Kobe the Lakers organization are too.
“We look forward to having Shaq join the other legends who have been honored with statues at STAPLES Center. He is a giant not only in size, but also in stature and in what he accomplished as a Laker. Shaq literally broke the ground for the site, and was hugely responsible for not only getting STAPLES Center built, but for making it one of the most successful and famous arenas in the world. It’s an honor that is well deserved.” Jeanie Buss told press in a release after making the Diesel’s dream come true with an immortalization that will come at some point next season.
Now Cap, Magic and Jerry will have some competition when it comes to the pregame photo opportunities with Laker legends. Although as Kimmell points out from below, Shaq’s signature slam could make for some suspect and silly shots. Still it might be the most creative and best design of Lakers immorality yet.
Either way, Hall or not, this legends Laker legacy is already set in stone. Number 34’s just waiting on the engraving.