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No. 32 Meets the Kia Center's Rafters

Courtesy of NBA

Number 32 will never again be worn by an Orlando Magic player. 

Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey number has officially been retired, now making him one of three players to have their numbers retired by three different NBA organizations. The other two players to hold this honor are Wilt Chamberlain (13; Lakers, Warriors, 76ers) and Pete Maravich (44; Hawks, 7; Jazz, Pelicans), not including Bill Russel, with his No. 6 being retired across the entire NBA. With No. 32 hung high above the court at the Kia Center in Orlando, Florida, O’Neal will always be remembered, being the only player to have a number retired in franchise history.

O’Neal’s most notable time while playing in the NBA was with the Los Angeles Lakers, who retired his number 34 jersey back in 2013, and rightfully so. O’Neal held over a .500 shooting percentage and averaged well over 20 points per season in all eight years of play for the Lakers. Also, while in Los Angeles, he won three of his four NBA Championships consecutively from 2000-2002. After eight years as a Laker, O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004. It did not take long for him to earn more hardware, winning another NBA Championship with them in 2006. His number 32 jersey was retired at the Kaseya Center in Miami in 2016. 

Courtesy of Mark J. Terrill - AP Photo

O’Neal, nicknamed ‘Shaq’, started his professional career at the Orlando Magic in 1992, as the No. 1 Overall Pick in the 1992 Draft. O’Neal led the Magic to the NBA Championship Finals just three years later in 1995, but was defeated by the Houston Rockets. He averaged 22.7 points per game, and holds the No. 2 spot for blocked shots in franchise history (824), the No. 3 spot for rebounds (3,691), and No. 6 for points scored (8,019). In 1996, there was a dispute whether O’Neal should be paid as a free agent, which caused a rift between O’Neal and the Magic.

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

However, time heals all wounds, as on February 13, 2024, his number was hoisted into the rafters, securing his legacy on the Orlando Magic after a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Magic Chief Executive Alex Martins explains, “When someone asks who was the first player to officially put the Orlando Magic on the map, the answer is simple — Shaquille O’Neal.” 

Edited by Emilia Morello

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