In what is becoming the norm in recent times, Louisiana State University is the latest to honor one of their legendary players on the hardwood by reportedly constructing a life-sized bronze statue of future NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. Surprisingly, until recently the current Celtics’ big man has resisted the tremendous honor.
Before winning 4 NBA Titles, garnering 15 All Star nods, 3 Finals MVP awards, and a scoring crown, Shaq dominated the college ranks at LSU during the early 1990′s. He played alongside former NBA sharpshooter Chris Jackson (later known as Mahmoud Abdul Rauf), earning 1st Team All American honors during the ’91 and ’92 seasons. He averaged a ridiculous 21.6 ppg, 13.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in his 3 seasons of SEC play.
He left the Tigers for fame and fortune of the NBA after just 3 seasons but returned in 2000 to earn his degree, earning him the self proclaimed “Big Aristotle” nickname. It seems like excellent timing of the honorary statue since the now 39 year old went through a horrific injury filled season in Boston, averaging 9.2 ppg in only 37 games this season. After watching the future 1st ballot Hall of Famer limp through only 11 total minutes during the Heat/Celtics playoff series, it’s possible that we have seen the last of the dominating big man on the NBA hardwood.
He’s now destined to be the face of LSU basketball and is the perfect choice for the honor since Shaq is has done something that even the iconic “Pistol” Pete Maravich couldn’t accomplish, winning a collegiate National POY Award and NBA MVP.
Reportedly the statue of O’Neal finishing off one of his thunderous 2 handed dunks has already been built by a group of private investors but the school has been waiting for big Shaq to take part in the unveiling. With Boston losing to the Miami Heat recently in the NBA Playoffs, it looks like the ceremony will get done sometime this Summer.
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen also provides content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.