How long must a player play for a single franchise in order to have his number retired by that team?
Five years? 10 years? A certain percentage of his career?
Well, the Miami Heat announced today on Twitter that they’ll be retiring Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 32 even though he played only four years in the city. And when they finally do, Shaq Daddy will be one of only 12 players to have his jersey retired by multiple teams.
We're Shaq'ing Up!
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 9, 2016
Now you can really go either way and say that there is no way four years is enough time to properly gauge how much impact a player. He simply wasn’t there long enough.
And part of you would be right.
But I’m cool with it. Founded in 1988, the Heat are relatively young organization by NBA standards, and until 2006 they were without an NBA title.
That’s where Superman, aka The Big Agave, aka Shaq Diesel comes in. He, along with Dwyane Wade, helped the Heat win their first ever championship. So while the Heat’s rafters are relatively bare right now—with only Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, and technically Michael Jordan—Shaq’s addition is sure to open the door for more in the coming years.
Say one LeBron James. Or Chris Bosh. And of course, Dwyane Wade.
While Shaquille O’Neal’s tenure in South Beach was a short four years long along the downslope of his illustrious career, he still made an indelible impact on a franchise that wasn’t overly memorable.
That alone is reason enough to retire his jersey.