The Miami Heat announced today that they will retire Shaquille O'Neal's No. 32 jersey at the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season.
"Shaquille O'Neal is one of the truly elite players in the history of the game and one of the greatest players to ever wear a HEAT uniform," said HEAT President Pat Riley. "He took us to another level as a basketball franchise while leading us to our first NBA championship. Retiring his number in the rafters, along with HEAT greats Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, is something we are very proud of."
O'Neal's jersey will join those of fellow big man and former teammate Alonzo Mourning as well as legendary point guard Tim Hardaway up on the rafters of AmericanAirlines Arena.
The dominant big man arrived to Miami in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers and made an immediate impact upon his arrival, which was marked in a ceremony outside the arena with the Big Diesel emerging from the cab of a semi truck.
The highlight of his three-and-a-half seasons with the Heat was the 2006 NBA Championship, but his arrival as a superstar helped anchor the middle for the team as Dwyane Wade emerged as a superstar of the league in his own right. The team won three consecutive division titles during his time with the Heat and made two Eastern Conference championship appearances.
O'Neal's impact on the Heat's record books is as follows, from the Heat's press release:
O'Neal is still Miami's all-time leader in field goal percentage (.596) and ranks third in scoring average (19.6), fifth in blocks (384), seventh in free throws attempted (1,708), eighth in offensive rebounds (621), ninth in double-doubles (84), 11th in total rebounds (1,856), 12th in defensive rebounds (1,235), 12th in field goals made (1,612), 13th in free throws made (786), 14th in points (4,010), 14th in double-figure scoring games (191), 14th in starts (203) and 15th in field goals attempted (2,703). Among the HEAT's all-time postseason leaders, O'Neal ranks second in dunks (116), fourth in free throws attempted (315), fifth in double-doubles (15), fifth in double-figure scoring games (37), fifth in 20-point games (16), sixth in field goals made (312), sixth in total rebounds (361), sixth in offensive rebounds (110), sixth in defensive rebounds (251), sixth in blocks (59), seventh in points (751), seventh in free throws made (127), seventh in games started (40), eighth in field goal attempts (531) and ninth in minutes (1,311).