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Lakers hang Shaq’s No. 34 jersey in the rafters

  • ASSOCIATED PRESSShaquille O'Neal, left, congratulates UCLA's new men's basketball coach, Steve Alford, at a news conference at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Alford was hired as UCLA basketball coach on Saturday, spurning New Mexico days after he agreed to a new 10-year deal with the Lobos. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Shaquille O'Neal, left, congratulates UCLA's new men's basketball coach, Steve Alford, at a news conference at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles Tuesday, April 2, 2013. Alford was hired as UCLA basketball coach on Saturday, spurning New Mexico days after he agreed to a new 10-year deal with the Lobos. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES >> Although Shaquille O’Neal rarely finds himself speechless, he says he’s thrilled beyond words to see his jersey in the Los Angeles Lakers’ rafters.

The Lakers planned a halftime ceremony Tuesday night to honor O’Neal. They’ll hang his No. 34 jersey in the Staples Center collection including Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.

O’Neal is the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history. He played eight of his 19 NBA seasons with the Lakers, winning three championships and reaching four NBA finals during his basketball prime.

Although O’Neal began his career in Orlando and played for four more teams after leaving Los Angeles, the 15-time All-Star says he considers Los Angeles his NBA home, and hopes to represent the Lakers in the Hall of Fame.

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