The Magic announced Thursday that it would induct O'Neal into its Hall of Fame during a private ceremony on March 27 at the Amway Center, then honor him that night in front of the fans during a home game against the Detroit Pistons.
"Shaq made a tremendous impact on our franchise during his time with us and we are thrilled to recognize him as our third inductee into the Magic Hall of Fame," team CEO Alex Martins said. "He carries on a great legacy of those who made the greatest contribution to the rich history of the Orlando Magic.’’
A 1989 expansion team, the Magic had never made the playoffs before drafting O'Neal with the top overall pick in 1992. But the 1993 rookie of the year guided them into the playoffs three times, including an appearance in the 1995 NBA Finals.
Larger than life in stature and personality, Shaq became a household name during his time in Orlando, making the All-Star team all four years while also starring in movies, releasing rap albums and appearing in numerous commercials.
"Shaq put the Orlando Magic on the map — not just in the state of Florida or in the United States; he was this global phenomenon,’’ Fox Sports Florida television play-by-play announcer David Steele said in a statement. "When we traveled, it was like a traveling rock show. Everybody wanted to see Shaq.’’