Like many of Shaquille O’Neal’s free throws, the lowering of his retired jersey this week was an embarrassment, but was easily overcome by the greatness of the rest of the evening. Everything seemed to go well at former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey retirement ceremony at the Staples Center on Tuesday evening, except for one important detail: his last name and jersey number were mistakenly printed on the front side instead of the back of the uniform.
Normally the word “Lakers” appears on the front. The Lakers have admitted to the mistake and promised to fix the flub so that the mistake does not permanently hang from the rafters, and O’Neal doesn’t seem phased by the issue.
It was still a great night for the legend. Years removed from a nasty spat with once fellow star Kobe Bryant–which Shaq initially won by winning a title with Dwyane Wade before apparently making up with Kobe before a Heat-Lakers game–a video from Bryant heaped praise on his former teammate during halftime of the Lakers-Mavericks game. After fans watched Kobe sing O’Neal’s praises, they watched him destroy the Dallas Mavericks 101-81 with a triple-double to help the Lakers go into this weekend a half game ahead of Utah and three games ahead of the Mavericks for the last playoff spot.
Fans including actor Jack Nicholson, of course, rose to their feet, giving the legendary basketball player whose career spans two decades a standing ovation and rousing cheer as Shaq took center court again, to see his jersey retired to the rafters to join those of other former Lakers including Magic Johnson and James Worthy.