Lakers to give Shaquille O’Neal statue outside Staples Center

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Magic Johnson has one. So does Jerry West. And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The most photographed one (based on the lines outside the building pregame) is probably Chick Hearn’s.

Now Shaquille O’Neal is going to get one — a statue outside Staples Center (the Lakers’ home).

Can you dig it?!

Shaq learned about this on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday.

The Lakers confirmed the news. Here is the statement from Jeannie Buss.

“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.”

She’s right, the draw that was Shaq and Kobe Bryant (who will get his own statue in a couple of years) helped make the economics of Staples Center work. The building was built and is owned by AEG, which owns the L.A. Kings and also owns a minority stake in the Lakers. The Kings’ alone were not enough of a draw, the Lakers made the construction of the building (which has become the hub a revitalized downtown Los Angeles) possible.

This statue is well deserved, and I like the design hanging over the others.

It’s getting crowded in Star Plaza outside Staples. Besides the Lakers’ statues both Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille of the Kings have ones, as does Oscar De La Hoya.