Number 5 – Shaquille O’Neal
For Shaq’s review, we decided to relive his truly greatest play as a Laker. The faithful alley-oop he received from Kobe Bryant in the final minutes of Game 7 of the 2000 NBA Western Conference Finals.
Here is an excerpt from ‘The Greatest Lakers of All-Time: Shaquille O’Neal‘:
In terms of game 7, Los Angeles kept pace with the Trail Blazers early, only trailing by 3 at half time, 42-39. Portland would then proceed to win the 3rd quarter 29-19, putting them up 71-58 heading into the 4th. Both Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant had struggled during the run, both playing all 12 minutes in the quarter and only combining for 4 points (all from Bryant).
All hope was beginning to look lost for the Lakers as fans prepared themselves for yet another disappointing end to the season. The team had failed to make it to the Finals in the last 3 seasons (exiting in the Conference Semi-Finals once and the Conference Finals twice).
The scoring would continue to go back and forth at the beginning of the 4th quarter, after 2 minutes it sat at 75-60. The purple and gold would then go on a run, starting with a hook shot in the right low post from O’Neal as he received the pass from Rick Fox.
To read on, make sure to go and check out the original article.
Greatness was always expected for Shaquille O’Neal. Drafted by the Orlando Magic with the number one pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, he made his way to Los Angeles in the summer of ’96.
As a Laker, he would earn an NBA scoring title, 6 NBA All-Star selections, 2 NBA All-Star MVPs, 3 NBA All-Defensive Second Team selections, 2 All-NBA Third Team selections, an All-NBA Second Team selection, 4 All-NBA First Team selections, an NBA MVP, 3 NBA Championships, 3 NBA Finals MVPs and later an induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2013 the Lakers made it so no other Laker would wear number 34 again, hanging his jersey in the rafters of the Staples Center. Becoming the tenth player to have his number retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. All these achievements more than cement his no.5 place as a true Laker great!