Shaq inducted into Magic Hall of Fame; regrets leaving 'City Beautiful' for Hollywood glitz & glamour

 

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Click the video above to watch Shaquille O'Neal reflect on his NBA start with the Orlando Magic as part of his Hall of Fame team induction Friday night at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. The 7-footer expressed regret that he left Orlando for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006, a year after he and his teammates made it all the way to the NBA Finals for the first time where they were swept by the Houston Rockets. Shaq also is shown below with team CEO Alex Martens in this Orlando Magic photo op.
 
Orlando Magic exec Alex Martens with Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal / Headline Surfer®

ORLANDO, Fla. -- With four NBA rings, Shaquille O'Neal doesn't owe anyone any apologies. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have any regrets.

After all, he did lead the Magic to the NBA Finals early on, only to be swept by the Houston Rocket, after which he bolted the City Beautiful for the Hollywood glitz and glamour of the Los Angeles Lakers.

And while that 1995 Magic squad came up short, O'Neal may have regret, but there's no doubt as to his eventual championship success -- three rings with LA and a fourth with the Miami Heat.

The Orlando Magic inducted the perennial NBA All-Star into its Hall of Fame on Friday at the Amway Center before the current squad took to the court against the Detroit Pistons.

O'Neal became the third inductee into the Magic Hall of Fame. In addition to the induction ceremony, O'Neal was honored during the Magic's matchup vs. the Pistons later in the evening.

Orlando's No. 1 overall selection of LSU in the 1991 NBA Draft, O'Neal was thrilled to be back home again with his new-found status: Magic Hall of Famer.

Shaq, in fact, is only the third Magic inductee behind 2014 selections Pat Williams, the co-team founder, and Nick Anderson, the team's first-ever first-round draft choice, 11th overall, back in 1989.

"It's a great honor and really, really unexpected," O'Neal said.

"When I got the call, I couldn't believe it," O'Neal explained.

"But me and the DeVos family, we kept a close relationship even after I left in 1996. We've done a lot of business together and personal things together."

O'Neal continued with the affection: "The DeVoses were always a first-class family and (it's) a first-class organization."

Selected by Orlando with the first overall pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, O'Neal spent his four seasons with the Magic from 1992-96, before leaving as an unrestricted free agent and signing with the Los Angeles Lakers where he cemented his legacy as a one of the all-time greats with three straight NBA championships.

Shaq as No. 1 pick of Orlando Magic / Headline Surfer®Shaquille O'Neal, the No. 1 overall pick out of LSU in the 1991 NBA Draft by Orlando, was thrilled with his new-found status as a Magic Hall of Famer. He's only the third inductee behind 2014 inductees Pat Williams, the co-team founder, and Nick Anderson, the team's first-ever first-round election, picked 11th overall back in 1989.

"It's a great honor and really, really unexpected," O'Neal said Friday at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. "When I got the call, I couldn't believe it. But me and the DeVos family, we kept a close relationship even after I left in 1996. We've done a lot of business together and personal things together. The DeVoses were always a first-class family and (it's) a first-class organization."

O'Neal was named an NBA All-Star four times as a member of the Orlando Magic, named to the All-NBA Second Team once (1994-'95) and All-NBA Third Team twice (1993-'94, 1995-'96). He was also named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1992-'93, after being named the NBA's Rookie of the Year.

O'Neal led the Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals where they were swept by veteran center Akeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.

The Magic would return to the NBA Finals in 2009, this time with as the star center, Dwight Howard, but lost in five games to the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers.

Later regrets in leaving after 1995 heartbreak: Magic make it to NBA Finals only to be swept

Shaq acknowledged during his Orlando Magic Hall of Fame honor "the heartbreak in '95" when the Magic lost to the far-more potent Rockets in the NBA finals, adding he regrets having left the team in 1996, via free agency for the Los Angeles Lakers despite a core that included himself, Penny Hardaway and Nick Anderson.

"That's why I kind of regret it, because we had a young, fabulous team," O'Neal explained. "We really did. And it's a shame that we got torn apart. But I think about that all the time. I try not to live my life now on 'ifs' or 'would've, should've,' but do I regret leaving here in '96, yes I do."

Shaq with LA Lakers / Headline Surfer®Shaq acknowledged "the heartbreak in '95" when the Magic lost in the NBA finals to the Houston Rockets, adding he regrets leaving the team in 1996, via free agency for the Los Angeles Lakers where he won three consecutive NBA championships, despite a core on the Magic that included himself, Penny Hardaway and Nick Anderson.

"That's why I kind of regret it, because we had a young, fabulous team," O'Neal explained. "We really did. And it's a shame that we got torn apart. But I think about that all the time. I try not to live my life now on 'ifs' or 'would've, should've,' but do I regret leaving here in '96, yes I do."

 
Shaq recognized as Hall of Famer during Orlando Magic game vs. Detroit Pistons / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® courtesy Orlando Magic /
Shaq is applauded by Orlando Magic fans at the Amway Center during a break in the game against the Detroit Pistons where he was announced as the team's newest Hall of Famer.
 

During his tenure with the Magic, O'Neal appeared in 295 regular season games (293 starts), averaging 27.2 points per game., 12.5 rebounds pg., 2.4 assists pg. and 2.79 blocks pg. in 37.8 minutes pg., while shooting .581 (3,208-5,522 FG) from the floor.

O'Neal ranks among the franchise's all-time leaders in several categories, including rebounding (second, 3,691), blocked shots (second, 824), field goals made (third, 3,208) and points scored (fifth, 8,019).

Shaq's 27.2 points per game average is the second-highest in team history and he helped Orlando reach the 1995 NBA Finals.

"The Orlando Magic are honored to recognize those who have made significant contributions to our history," Magic CEO Alex Martins said Friday.

"Shaq made a tremendous impact on our franchise during his time with us and we are thrilled to recognize him as our third inductee into the Magic Hall of Fame," Martens continued. He carries on a great legacy of those who made the greatest contribution to the rich history of the Orlando Magic."

Alex Martens / Hedline Surfer®"The Orlando Magic are honored to recognize those who have made significant contributions to our history," Magic CEO Alex Martins, shown here at left, said Friday of Shaquille O'Neal and other Magic greats before and after him. "Shaq made a tremendous impact on our franchise during his time with us and we are thrilled to recognize him as our third inductee into the Magic Hall of Fame. He carries on a great legacy of those who made the greatest contribution to the rich history of the Orlando Magic."

The Magic unveiled its inaugural Hall of Fame class on April 9, 2014, naming the first two inductees, Magic co-founder and Senior Vice President Pat Williams and the team's first-ever draft pick and current Community Ambassador Nick Anderson.

Trish Wingerson, the Magic's assistant director of communications, explained how Hall of Famers are chosen:

"The Magic Hall of Fame honors and celebrates the great players, coaches and executives who have had a major impact during the team's illustrious 26-year history," Wingerson said. "The inductees are selected based on their overall on and off the court contributions to the team and organization, years of service, impact in the community and general character of the individual."

Shaq career highlights / Headline Surfer®Shaq career highlights / Headline Surfer®FAST FACTS: Shaq's NBA Career

Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal (born in Newark, NJ, March 6, 1972), nicknamed "Shaq," is a retired National Basketball Association player, former rapper, actor, TV ad pitchman  & current analyst on the TNT studio show, "Inside the NBA."

Standing 7 feet 1 & weighing 325 pounds, Shaq, drafted first overall in the 1992 by the Orlando Magic, O'Neal was one of the heaviest and most imposing competitors ever to play in the NBA.

Shaq played for six teams during his 19-year NBA career, during which he earned four NBA championship rings: Three in a row with the Los Angeles Lakers and a fourth with the Miami Heat.

Here are bulleted highlights of Shaq's career:

• Following a stand-out career at Louisiana State University, drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.
• Became one of the best centers in the NBA, winning rookie of the year in 1992-'93, and later leading the Orlando Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals, losing to the Houston Rockets.
• After four years with the Magic, signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning three consecutive championships in 2000-2002.
• Amid tension with Kobe Bryant, traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, and won fourth NBA championship in 2006.
• Midway through the 2007-'08 season, traded to the Phoenix Suns.
• After a season-and-a-half with the Suns, traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2009-'10 season.
• Played for the Boston Celtics in the 2010-'11 season, before retiring.
• Individual accolades include the 1999-2000 MVP award, the 1992-'93 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 15 All-Star game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, and three NBA All-Defensive Team selections.
• One of only three players to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year (2000); the other players are Willis Reed in 1970 and Michael Jordan in 1996 & 1998.
• Ranks 6th all-time in points scored, 5th in field goals, 13th in rebounds, and 7th in blocks. Largely due to his ability to dunk the basketball, O'Neal also ranks 3rd all-time in field goal percentage (58.2%).

Did You Know?

In addition to his basketball career, O'Neal has released four rap albums, with his first, "Shaq Diesel, "going platinum. He has appeared in numerous films and has starred in his own reality shows, "Shaq's Big Challenge" and "Shaq Vs."

Multimedia: Shaquille O'Neal

Headline Surfer® YouTube Download / video by Rifet Kozlica / Shaquille O' Neal NBA Legend Documentary /
 
 
Headline Surfer® YouTube download / video by wistiti93420 / Penny & Shaq Code Blue /
 

Headline Surfer® YouTube download / video by LamarMatic / Olajuwon (35pts/16rebs/6asts/3stls) vs. Shaq (25pts/12rebs/4blks) ('95 Finals, Game 4) /
 
 
Headline Surfer® YouTube download / video by WWE Exclusives / Shaq Lays the Shackdown /  

Related News: HeadlineSurfer.com Hall of Fame inductees include Shaq & the Orlando Magic

Shaq & Alex Martins / Headline Surfer®Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins recognizrd in HeadlineSurfer.com Hall of Fame / Headline Surfer®Orlando Magic star Victor Oladipo recognized in HeadlineSurfer.com Hall of Fame / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer®
Shaquille O'Neil, shown at far left, is not only a Hall of Famer for the Orlando Magic, but HeadlineSurfer.com, too. And Alex Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic, shown with Shaq at far left and in the center, as well as Victor Oladipo, the team's current franchise player, have been selected as representatives recognized as leaders of the Orlando Magic basketball team that also is being inducted into the HeadlineSurfer.com Hall of Fame. Also be inducted into the HeadlineSurfer.com Hall of Fame are Frank Bruno, shown below, the first elected Volusia County chair and first official entrant, as well as WWE wrestling star Kevin Nash, shown below Bruno. The 7-footer is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Saturday night.
 

Shaquille O'Neal and the Orlando Magic (represented by team exec Alex Martins & star player Victor Oladipo) are recognized as two separate inductees among 100 entrants in the inaugural HeadlineSurfer.com Hall of Fame Class of 2015, with official story profiles coming soon.

Shaq was inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame on Friday night at the Amway Center.

Oladipo, the second overall pick of the Orlando Magic in the 2013 NBA Draft, as a junior out of Indiana University, is considered the franchise player on the squad. 

On Feb. 21, 2014, Oladipo recorded a career high 14 assists, along with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 1 steal, in a 129-121 double overtime victory over the New York Knicks. He went on to finish second in Rookie of the Year voting.

Alex Martins, who has spent 26 years in professional sports management and re-joined the Magic in June of 2005, was promoted to chief executive officer on December 7, 2011. He previously served as president for more than one year and was the team’s chief operating officer from 2006-10.

Ex-Volusia County Chair Frank Bruno, first entrant into HeadlineSurfer.com Hall of Fame / The first official entrant in the Headline Surfer® Hall of Fame is Frank Bruno, Volusia County's first-elected county chair (2004-'12).

Bruno, now retired from politics and residing still in Ponce Inlet with his wife, Mary, now makes a living in real estate.

Bruno will be formally recognized with a profile story on Sunday that includes a fresh video interview as well as videos highlighting his career. Plus, there are some vintage photos never seen before by the general public. 

Pro wrestler Kevin Nash of greater Daytona, to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame / Headline Surfer®Another prominent professional athlete entertainer being recognized in the Headline Surfer® Hall of Fame is Daytona Beach-area resident Kevin Nash, 7-foot-tall retired professional wrestler with the WWE and formerly with WCW, where he and Scott Hall were known as the "Outsiders."

Hall and Nash formed the wrestling stable known as the NWO, or New World Order, with Hollywood Hulk Hogan at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.

Nash will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame tonight, shown live on the WWE Network on the internet.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's a third of the way though the Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation will be in March 2018.