Shaquille O’Neal ROOTING for a LeBron James statue at Lakers’ Staple Center

Shaquille O'Neal supports LeBron James statue at Lakers' Staples Center

Shaquille O’Neal ROOTING for a LeBron James statue at Lakers’ Staple Center

Shaquille O' Neal and LeBron James

In a surprising show of support, basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal has expressed his belief that LeBron James deserves a statue in front of the Staples Center, the home of the Los Angeles Lakers. Speaking to BallySports, O’Neal stated, “If they wanted to give him a statue, I’d be fine with that.”

O’Neal acknowledged the criticism James faced for winning a championship with the Lakers in the unique bubble environment, with some questioning its legitimacy. However, he emphasized that James had broken records, including the scoring record, as a Laker. O’Neal recognized James as a great player with exceptional abilities who fulfilled his responsibilities as a Laker.

The former Lakers center also touched upon the demanding nature of Lakers fans, known for their high expectations. O’Neal acknowledged the sentiment by saying, “Okay, you got us this bubble championship, but when are you going to give us another? It’s always that.” Despite this sentiment, O’Neal believes James deserves a statue, further highlighting his impact and success with the Lakers.

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The possibility of a LeBron James statue

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Lebron James (image via LM Otero / Associated Press)

While the idea of a LeBron James statue outside the Staples Center gains attention, there is ongoing debate surrounding the matter. Many argue that Kobe Bryant, the late Lakers icon, should receive the first statue honoring his legacy. Matt Barnes, a former Lakers player, expressed this sentiment, saying, “They gotta worry about getting that Kobe statue up first.”

However, Barnes acknowledged James as an all-time great and predicted that the Lakers would find a way to honor him with a statue. He highlighted James’ achievements, including a championship and a scoring title during his tenure with the team. LeBron James played a crucial role in leading them to their first NBA title since 2010 in 2020.

Critics of the idea may point to James’ inconsistent performance and the team’s struggles outside of the 2019-20 season. Nevertheless, the significance of winning a championship cannot be understated. James also surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer while playing for the Lakers, further strengthening his case for statue-worthy recognition.

Throughout his five seasons with the team, he averaged an impressive 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game. The likelihood of a LeBron James statue becoming a reality increases with the backing of basketball greats like Shaquille O’Neal, who already has a statue outside the Staples Centre.

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