Heat to retire Shaq's jersey

O'Neal to become only third Heat player to have number retired


MIAMI – Any bridges burned during Shaquille O'Neal's contentious departure from South Florida seem to have been mended.

The Miami Heat announced Tuesday that it will retire O'Neal's No. 32 jersey in a ceremony at the beginning of the 2016-17 season.

O'Neal will join Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway as the only players to have their jerseys retired by the Heat.

“Shaquille O’Neal is one of the truly elite players in the history of the game and one of the greatest players to ever wear a HEAT uniform,” said team president Pat Riley. “He took us to another level as a basketball franchise while leading us to our first NBA championship. Retiring his number in the rafters, along with HEAT greats Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway, is something we are very proud of.”

O'Neal joined the Heat after being traded to South Florida in 2004 and helped the team win its first-ever NBA Championship in 2005.  

Despite playing just over four seasons in Miami, O'Neal remains the team's all-time leader in field goal percentage (.596) and ranks third in scoring average (19.6).

The Heat traded O'Neal to Phoenix during the 2007-08 season after relations with management and teammates became hostile.

During his career, O'Neal was named to 15 NBA All-Star teams and was named NBA Finals MVP three times. In addition, O'Neal won a gold medal with Team USA in the 1996 Olympics.