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Brian Shaw glad Lakers retiring Shaquille O'Neal's number

April 02, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Shaquille O'Neal, left, and Brian Shaw enjoy the moment as the Lakers complete a sweep of the San Antonio Spurs in the 2001 Western Conference finals.
Shaquille O'Neal, left, and Brian Shaw enjoy the moment as the Lakers… (Los Angeles Times )

Shaquille O'Neal will have number 34 jersey retired on Tuesday night at Staples Center as the Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks.

On Monday night, former teammate Brian Shaw said he's excited for O'Neal.

"He deserves it.  He's a big part of the Laker tradition," said Shaw, the associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers.  "He was directly responsible for a lot of that.  I couldn't be happier for him."

Although O'Neal left the Lakers somewhat contentiously in 2004 after winning three titles with the team (eventually even becoming a Boston Celtic), he and the organization gradually mended fences.

"I'm happy the organization decided to [retire his jersey]," said Shaw.  "I wish I could be here to see but I'm here in spirit."

The Lakers' three-peat from 2000 to 2002 might not have gotten off the ground without Shaw hitting crucial three-pointers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in 2000 against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"The only reason why I'm even open to shoot those threes is because they're double-teaming [O'Neal]," said Shaw.

The Lakers have won two titles since O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat.  O'Neal earned his fourth in Miami.

The Pacers are 48-27, second in the Eastern Conference behind the Heat.  The Lakers are 38-36, hoping to catch the eighth-place Utah Jazz.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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