Shaquille O’Neal gets emotional over Orlando Magic jersey being retired

“The guy that created all this passed away about nine, 10 years ago,” O’Neal said referring to his stepdad

Former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, speaks during an interview with CNBC at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US, March 22, 2019. — Reuters

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is set to become the first Orlando Magic player to ever have a jersey number retired on February 13 and he is all up his feelings about the moment.

“It actually makes me sad and I’m going to tell you why. The guy that created all this passed away about nine, 10 years ago,” O’Neal told People, referring to his stepfather Phillip Harrison, who died in September 2013 after a series of health issues.

He added: “My mom will be there, so this is more their moment than it is mine.”

The former National Basketball Association (NBA) star had always admired Harrison, an army sergeant, who even coached O’Neal’s youth basketball teams when the Hall of Fame-er was far from a future basketball stud and more of “a medium juvenile delinquent.”

He also said that Harrison “would just throw these names out there. I knew Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He kept saying, ‘I’m going to make you bigger than Kareem.'”

The 51-year-old sports analyst also has an affinity for former Magic owner Richard DeVos, who died in September 2018 at the age of 92

DeVos drafted the centre out of Louisiana State University in 1992.

“I remember when I met with him, he said, ‘Hey, you’re going come in and we’ll pay you a lot of money and we’re going to have fun. Are you ready for that pressure?’ And I said, ‘Yes sir, Mr DeVos, I’m ready,'” O’Neal shares.

O’Neal ended up playing four years for the Orlando Magic, winning Rookie of the Year in 1993 and guiding the team to the NBA Finals in the 1995-1996 season.

“It was a great four years, so I’m happy,” he says of his time with the team. “But if I had one wish, I wish those two could be there, Rich DeVos and Phillip Harrison.”

NBA All-Star and MVP, O’Neal, retired his jersey from the Lakers in 2013 and the Heat in 2016, becoming the second player in NBA history to have his jersey retired by three teams.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.