Shaq Says He’d Be Fine With Lakers Erecting Statue Of LeBron James, But Greedy L.A. Fans Would Want Another Ring Before That Happens

No one knows the Lakers fans better than the legends that played for the historic franchise. The one thing they all can attest to is that the fan base only cares about winning titles. The Lakers have made an NBA record of 32 appearance in the Finals and won 17 total titles. Shaquille O’Neal understands this as well as any former Lakers player and gives LeBron James a bit of advice heading into the final stretch of his career.

(Left) Shaquille O’Neal on the red carpet of the 44th Annual Sports Emmy Awards. (Middle) A.I. generated LeBron James statue. (Right) James on the red carpet of “Shooting Stars” premiere. (Photos: Getty Images & @realmomentsAI/ Twitter screenshot)

Statue Talk

This week O’Neal was asked by Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Johnson his thoughts on James being deserving of a statue outside Crypto.Com Arena.

“I am not the one you should ask on that question. However, he did win a championship with the Lakers. A lot of people say that don’t count. Well, if it don’t count here, you can’t count Mr.Tim Duncan’s bubble championship [the 1999 lockout season title]. … LeBron has won as a Laker. He broke the record [scoring] record as a Laker,” said O’Neal to Johnson.

O’Neal continued, “If they wanted to give him a statue, I’d be fine with that. He’s a great player, great ability and he did what he was supposed to do as a LAKER. But the thing about the Lakers is that Laker fans are real greedy. OK, you got us this bubble championship, but when are you going to give us another? It’s always that.”

Roller Coaster

James’ tenure as a member of the Lakers has been up and down. They missed the playoffs his first season there in 2018-2019. The following season was extended due to COVID-19, and they were able to earn an extra four months of rest but won the title in 2020.

The Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors and secured a playoffs berth in the 2020-2021 season. Then they blew a 2-1 lead to the Phoenix Suns and lost the series in six games. They missed the playoffs the following year.

James and the Lakers struggled until trade deadline moves gave them new life this past season. They won eight of their last ten games and went 17-9 after the trade deadline. The Lakers went from disappointments to favorites and found themselves in the Western Conference finals.

His recent injury history with the Lakers is another issue as well. He has yet to play more than 70 games in a season, which excludes the 2019-20 season shortened by the pandemic. He played in just 55 games this past season.

There is no denying James’ greatness, but to put a statue next to O’Neal, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor might be a bit of a stretch.

Before we talk about James’ statue, Lakers fans first need to see that Kobe Bryant statue.

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