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O'Neal Takes Buss Up on Offer

December 07, 2004|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

The Lakers have been making overtures to Shaquille O'Neal, who was traded in July and has made it almost a weekly habit of reminding Miami media members how much he was irritated by it.

The Lakers have offered O'Neal the use of owner Jerry Buss' Staples Center suite for the Miami Heat's Jan. 14 game against the Clippers. The Lakers also offered O'Neal the opportunity to purchase 40 tickets for the Heat's Dec. 25 game against the Lakers at Staples Center.

O'Neal has accepted both offers and will pay about $5,200 for the Dec. 25 tickets, mostly lower-level seats ranging in value from $75 to $200.

"It'll probably be the scarcest ticket for any regular-season game in Laker history," team spokesman John Black said. "It's going to be an impossible ticket."

O'Neal does not have to pay for Buss' suite during the Clipper-Heat game. Buss has use of the suite, which holds up to 36 people, for every event at Staples Center.

"Knowing that Shaq has family and friends in L.A. that he'll want to see, [Buss] gave him his suite to use," Black said. "That's another way of us showing our appreciation for him for what he's done for the organization. There's certainly no animosity on our part toward him."

O'Neal has fired away at the Lakers since being traded to the Heat, taking various shots at Kobe Bryant and General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

The Lakers do not plan to recognize O'Neal before the Dec. 25 game, other than with a possible video compilation on the scoreboard. The Lakers plan to eventually retire O'Neal's jersey in a more elaborate ceremony.

"We've made it clear that we're never going to give that jersey out, even if it's eight years from now by the time we retire it," Black said. "No one will ever wear No. 34 for us again."

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