Heat raise No. 32 to the rafters

Shaq honored as Heat face Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal made a splash in his arrival to Miami
Shaquille O'Neal made a splash in his arrival to Miami

MIAMI – Can you dig it?

The Heat will retire Shaquille O'Neal's No. 32 Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Hall of Fame center played three seasons in Miami, helping lead the Heat to their first championship.

He was traded to Miami from the Lakers.

"Shaq, when he was here, it felt like a decade, even though he was only here three years," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He brought so much fun and a real championship feel and pedigree. We had had a first-class, championship organization that (former coach) Pat (Riley) and (team owner) Micky (Arison) created, but when arrived you immediately felt that you had a chance."

Miami's chance came against Dallas in the 2006 NBA Finals.

O'Neal left the Heat under somewhat adverse conditions, criticizing a former teammate and trainer.

Pat Riley said this week that those feelings had long since been repaired.

O'Neal becomes the third Heat player to have his jersey retired, joining Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. 

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