On a night celebrating one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, an outpouring of congratulations was offered to Shaquille O’Neal by those inside and outside of the sport.
Some of his top influences were chosen to speak in a pre-recorded segment that played before his enshrinement speech.
“Every year at LSU, he got better. He didn’t want to be good. He wanted to be great.”
“When Shaq came into the league, he had such a great passion and enthusiasm for the game. With his size and strength and mobility, it was something that we really hadn’t seen.”
“He’s huge. He’s menacing. And he really just attacked the rim.”
“He really just took the league by storm, but he did it in Shaquille O’Neal style. He was just as big off the court as he was on the court. When he went from Orlando to the Lakers, L.A. just loved him.”
“There will never be anybody like Shaquille O’Neal, ever. It won’t even be close.”
“He’s this funny, jovial guy. But in between those lines, he’s not playing around. He played with such a viciousness. I watched him put centers to shame.”
“We put L.A. back on the map and brought that belief back to Los Angeles that we’re playing for titles and nothing else.”
“Shaq brought a whole different element to basketball. He was going to be the dominant initial force that we had. He took on the mantle of: ‘We have to win. Now’s the time to win.’”
“In the history of big men, he’s right in that handful of greatest centers ever.”
Shaquille is one of the great players of all-time. Over a 10-year period, he was the best center in the league. That is absolutely a mark of greatness.
In addition, O’Neal received acclaim from a pair of his fellow members of the 2016 Hall of Fame class who had their share of battles against the Big Fella.
“A great athlete not only has great teammates, but also great opponents. A great opponent pushed me (and) pushed us forward — great opponents like Shaquille O’Neal. Every game we played reminded me of the old saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
“I can’t leave without bringing up Shaq. I love him so much as a person. Obviously the most dominant big man we’ve ever seen, ever.”
And, of course, O’Neal received a constant stream of praise on social media: