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Shaquille O'Neal as a Laker
June 1, 2011
The Lakers dipped into the free agent coffers prior to the 1996-97, wresting away prized center Shaquille O'Neal from the Orlando Magic. O'Neal, a 7-1 center with a rare combination of power and quickness.
Shaquille O'Neal poses with former General Manager Jerry West and his new Lakers jersey during a press conference on July 18, 2006.
O'Neal paid immediate dividends for the Lakers, leading them to a 56-26 record, their best effort since 1990-91, despite missing 31 games with a knee injury. O'Neal averaged 26.2 points and 12.5 rebounds in his first season with the Lakers.
During his second season O'Neal averaged 28.3 ppg for the season to finish a close second to Michael Jordan (28.7 ppg) in the scoring race, and was among league-leaders in rebounds (11.4 rpg) and blocks (2.40 bpg).
During the shortened season O'Neal had led the Lakers to a 31-19 record. They advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, where they lost to San Antonio. O'Neal averaged 26.3 points on .576 shooting, 10.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks during the season.
In 1999, the Lakers hired Phil Jackson as head coach. Using Jackson's triangle offense, O'Neal and Bryant enjoyed tremendous success. The Lakers stormed through the regular season achieving the best record in the league (67-15).
O'Neal was voted the 1999-2000 regular season Most Valuable Player. O'Neal also won the scoring title while finishing second in rebounds and third in blocked shots.
Shaquille O'Neal poses with Phil Jackson, Mitch Kupchak, Jerry West, and Jerry Buss for a portrait after winning the Most Valuable Player Award in 2000.
In 2000 NBA Finals the Lakers went on to defeat the Indiana Pacers in six games, earning their first NBA Championship since 1988.
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant celebrate after winning Game 6 of 2000 NBA Finals Game at STAPLES Center.
O'Neal with the NBA Championship Trophy and Finals MVP Trophy after winning the 2000 NBA Finals. O'Neal became only the third player to be named Most Valuable Player of the regular season, All-Star Game and the NBA Finals.
In 2000-01 Season, O'Neal averaged 28.7 points on .572 shooting, 12.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.8 blocks and 39.5 minutes. O'Neal captured All-NBA First Team honors and was an NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection.
Shaquille O'Neal celebrates as he runs on the court during a 2000 NBA game at the STAPLES Center.
Shaquille O''Neal has his head rubbed by his teammate, Kobe Bryant during the NBA game against the Golden State Warriors.
Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Brian Shaw share a laugh from the bench during a 2001 NBA game at the STAPLES Center.
In 2001 O'Neal was named Finals MVP after averaging 33.0 points and 15.8 rebounds against Philadelphia.
O'Neal celebrates in the locker room after winning the 2001 NBA Championship against the Philadelphia 76'ers June 2001 at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Shaquille O'Neal talks to the crowd at the Los Angeles Lakers parade outside of Staples Center on June 14, 2002 in Los Angeles, California.
During 2002-03 season, O'Neal averaged 27.5 points on .574 shooting, 11.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.4 blocks in 37.8 minutes.
Los Angeles faced the New Jersey Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals and won the series in four games. Averaging 36.3 points and 12.3 rebounds, O'Neal was named NBA Finals MVP for the third consecutive season.
Shaquille O'Neal keeps the ball inbounds, but crashes into the audience, during the NBA game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the STAPLES Center.
Three-time All-Star Game MVP (2004, co-MVP in 2000 and 2009). 15-Time NBA All-Star, Second-most All-Star appearances in NBA history (K. Abdul-Jabbar)
Kobe Bryant, Head Coach Phil Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal pose with their championship trophies. O'Neal won three consecutive NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002) with the Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal flexes his muscles during the NBA game against the Philadelphia 76ers at STAPLES Center in 2003.