The Los Angeles Lakers will retire Shaquille O'Neal's jersey in a ceremony on April 2, according to Howard Beck of The New York Times. Given that O'Neal was a crucial part of the Lakers team that won three straight championships (2000, 2001 and 2002), so retiring his jersey might seem like an obvious move, but his history with the team raised the possibility that it might not happen. More on that after the jump.
Shaq and Kobe Bryant may have been a perfect fit in Phil Jackson's triangle offense, but neither man was always happy to be teaming with the other. Kobe criticized Shaq publically prior to the 2003 season, calling his leadership, fitness and priorities into question. In 2004, O'Neal had comments of his own, indicating that he felt the team put Bryant above all other concerns. The tension between the two men would eventually prove too great to contain, and after requesting a trade Shaq was dealt to the Miami Heat.
Some had thought that Kobe still being the center of the Lakers might interfere with any ceremonies honoring O'Neal, but that appears not to be the case. Los Angeles will honor the big man on April 2, when they host the Dallas Mavericks.