37 Days Before His Own Jersey Retirement, Shaquille O’Neal Graces Another Lakers Legend’s Special Day in New Mexico

Published 01/07/2024, 12:26 AM EST

Follow Us

via Getty

The Pit‘ in Albuquerque welcomed two Los Angeles Lakers legends on Saturday night as the New Mexico Lobos faced off against the Wyoming Cowboys. Both teams have been evenly matched for quite some time now, with the latter spoiling New Mexico’s hopes with a 70-56 win back in February while facing an 87-76 loss to the Lobos during the Mountain West Tournament. Given the high stakes, many people turned out to view the anticipated match, including Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Cooper.

America’s Favorite Video Today

Sporting a black hoodie and a ‘Superman’ silver chain, the Big Aristotle walked across the edge of the court to a set of loud cheers and applause. While cheering on the Lobos from the sidelines, Shaq was also seen holding a red basketball jersey with ‘Shaq Diesel 23’ written on the back.

Along with Shaq, 5x NBA champion and former Lobos star, Michael Cooper was also present. A heartwarming moment occurred during the first media timeout when the Lobos proceeded to retire the legend’s number and honor him for the things he accomplished during his college career. Cooper also gave a warm hug to Shaq, uniting two different generations of basketball for one brief moment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Cooper played in New Mexico for two years and was named first-team All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in both seasons. He also helped the Lobos win the WAC title before being drafted by the Lakers and played a massive role during the Showtime era in LA when the franchise won 5 titles in 9 years.

WATCH THIS STORY: NBA Legends jaw-dropping Nike revenue revealed

O’Neal’s appearance at Michael Cooper’s jersey retirement ceremony certainly came as a surprise to many, given that Shaq was drafted into the NBA two years after Coop’s last game in the league. Furthermore, this special moment helped fans remember another commemorative event that is set to take place next month.

Shaquille O’Neal set to become just the second player in NBA history with a unique honor

It was only a few days ago when Orlando Magic president Alex Martins announced that the franchise will retire Shaq’s iconic No. 32 jersey on February 13th. This makes him the first player in the history of the franchise to have his jersey retired. Moreover, he will join Wilt Chamberlain (Lakers, 76ers, and the Warriors) as the only star whose jerseys hang in three different NBA arenas across the country.

via Getty

The Los Angeles Lakers retired Shaq’s No. 34 jersey back in 2013, while his Miami Heat No. 32 jersey was retired in 2016. The jersey retirement by the Magic, however, is extra special since this was the team that gave the future MVP the chance to play in the NBA.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest NBA stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

 

Since the announcement went public, many of Shaq’s friends and close ones have come forward to wish him congratulations. From his 27-year-old daughter Taahirah to his 69-year-old mother Lucille, the NBA legend is receiving love from all sides. Even his TNT co-hosts didn’t hold back in making the occasion a special one.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

READ MORE: Isiah Thomas’ Airport Disaster, Magic Johnson’s Gains And More: Here’s How NBA Legends Started 2024

What are your thoughts on Michael Cooper’s recent jersey retirement and Shaq’s upcoming one? Let us know in the comments down below.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Ashmit Kumar

434Articles

One take at a time

I wanted to make use of my Bachelors in Journalism in a lucrative manner And what better way to do that than to venture into the world of sports? It?s something that everyone loves, enjoys and can have a lively discussion about. Prior to joining EssentiallySports, I watched NBA games with my friends, attempting to learn why they found the sport of basketball so fascinating. It didn?t take me long to get bitten by the NBA bug as well.
Show More>

Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today