Heat Will Retire Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32 Next Season

The Miami Heat released a statement earlier today that was in regards to legendary center Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal, who spent three and a half seasons with the Heat after being traded to the Heat by the Lakers in 2004, will have his number retired by the Heat at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season. O’Neal will join point guard Tim Hardaway and big man Alonzo Mourning as the Heat’s retired numbers.

O’Neal’s NBA career lasted a total of 19 seasons. The Big Diesel won four championships in his career with one of them coming on the 2005-2006 Heat where he and Dwyane Wade beat the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

“Shaquille O’Neal is one of the truly elite players in the history of the game and one of the greatest players to ever wear a Heat uniform,” said Heat President Pat Riley in a statement released to the public. “He took us to another level as a basketball franchise while leading us to our first NBA championship. Retiring his number in the rafters, along with Heat greats Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, is something we are very proud of.”

Shaq still leads the Heat in all-time field goal percentage at 59.6% from the floor. He played in 205 career games for the Heat, averaging 19.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game.

The Heat will become the second team to retire O’Neal’s number, as the Lakers retired his number back in 32. It remains possible that the Orlando Magic retire his number someday as well.

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