Suns News

Suns Shaquille O’Neal Named New Jersey Hall of Fame Inductee


TRENTON, NJ – The people of New Jersey are smiling with pride today as Governor Jon Corzine announced the newest class of inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame, a class which includes poets, novelists, scientists, athletes and entertainers, including Suns center and New Jersey native Shaquille O’Neal.

Shaq, Bon Jovi and Jerry Lewis are just three of thirteen prominent names Governor Corzine unveiled as he introduced the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s second group of inductees. These leaders and legends in the categories of Arts & Entertainment, Sports, Historical, Enterprise and General all share one common denominator: a close relationship to New Jersey.

“This group of Hall of Famers embodies the spirit of New Jersey, a combination of drive, determination and creativity that has led them to greatness,” Governor Corzine said. “The New Jersey Hall of Fame should serve as a reminder that the people of New Jersey strive for excellence and engage in a myriad of productive and rewarding activities that help society and give back to mankind.”

Selected through a rigorous three-stage process which culminated in a three-month public vote, the Class of 2009 includes:
• Entertainment giants Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, Jon Bon Jovi and Jerry Lewis in the arts & entertainment category.
• Poet Walt Whitman and Rutgers star Paul Robeson in the historical category.
• Basketball great and Newark native Shaquille O’Neal, Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto and tennis legend Althea Gibson in the sports category.
• The father of radio communications Guglielmo Marconi and scientist Carl Sagan in the enterprise category, which includes business leaders, scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
• Poet William Carlos Williams and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in the general category.

When asked about his induction in the Hall of Fame, Phoenix Suns star Shaquille O’Neal said, “It is a great and humbling honor to be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame alongside some extraordinary individuals. I hope that through this wonderful museum my accomplishments both in the NBA and in the classroom can be an inspiration to others.”

There will be a gala red carpet induction ceremony on Sunday, May 3rd, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark where the inductees or their families will be honored. Tickets for the public to attend will be available after the middle of February through the NJPAC box office.

“Last year’s ceremony was both entertaining and historic and the Hall of Fame team is excited about the potential for another fun and enjoyable evening,” said the event’s executive producer Steve Edwards. “We look forward to having most if not all of our inductees on stage this year as well as the appearances of several notable personalities.”

At the announcement, the New Jersey Hall of Fame also unveiled preliminary design concepts for its initial satellite museums, slated for installation at the Izod Center and NJPAC. The organization’s plans include the creation of a mobile museum to take to school districts around the state.

Although supported by private donations, the Hall of Fame is operating under the auspices of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) and is overseen by an Advisory Commission.

Sponsors of the New Jersey Hall of Fame include the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, the NJEA, J.H. Cohn LLP, Comcast, Cablevision, PNC Bank, Johnson & Johnson, the Edison Innovation Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PNC Bank, the Star-Ledger/, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Gem Limousine, the Hilton of Short Hills, My9 and Continental Airlines.

The public can learn more about the New Jersey Hall of Fame on-line at

Don Jay Smith