Lakers honor Shaq with high-flying statue outside arena

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers have honored Shaquille O'Neal with a bronze statue of the Hall of Fame center who helped them to three consecutive NBA titles in better days.

With his youngest son pulling a gold braided cord to drop a shiny gold curtain, O'Neal laid eyes upon something bigger than the big man himself. The statue of him completing a monster dunk with his legs in the air is 9 feet (2.74m) and weighs 1,200 pounds (544kg). It is suspended 10 feet in the air, attached to the side of Staples Center. O'Neal is 7-foot-1 (2.16m) and was 325 pounds (147kg) in his playing days.

Purple and gold confetti and streamers rained down on O'Neal, his family and some of the biggest names in NBA history, including Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kobe Bryant, all of whom spoke at the hour-long ceremony Friday.

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