Back in 2023, Shaquille O’Neal shared a video that saw him freestyling in a Home Depot. While the main premise involved him searching for a former employee that went viral on social media, the champion athlete couldn’t help but send a message to one of his former teams.
“Should write a book ’bout every step on my way up the ladder/ Came out the mud, it was an ugly chapter/ I don’t even show up at your fancy parties/ If you see me hanging out, it’s off the f**kin’ rafters/ Only baller to go f**kin’ platinum/ If you count my points and rebounds, quadruple platinum/ Got two retired jerseys in two different cities/ I’m still waiting on that call from the Orlando Magic…”
On Thursday (Jan. 4), Shaq was surprised with a dope announcement during a segment of “Inside The NBA.” Alongside co-hosts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson Jr., the 51-year-old watched as Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins delivered a message via a faux FaceTime video call.
“I hear you’ve been waiting for a phone call from us, and the wait is over. On behalf of the DeVos family, and myself, and all of us here at the Orlando Magic, we want to congratulate you as we make you the first jersey number retired in the history of the Orlando Magic,” Martins confirmed. “You had a great career here — at the beginning of your career — and we had some great times. You took us all the way to the NBA Finals, and it’s finally time to put that number in the rafters.”
Immediately after the call, Barkley, Smith and Johnson cheered in celebration as confetti fell from the ceiling. Shaq’s mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, also shared a message to her son following the news. “I can remember back when they called your name, ‘Orlando Magic with the first pick,’ and they picked Shaquille O’Neal. We were all so happy for you,” the proud matriarch said.