I'll be honest — I watched the Shaquille O'Neal jersey retirement from halftime of Tuesday's matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks on DVR delay after missing the start of the game to finish writing about Carmelo Anthony's 50-point game in Miami, so as I was rushing to catch up, I might not have been paying super-close attention to the trappings of the ceremony. Our old pal Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones was, though, and he noticed something odd — on the panel raised to the rafters of the Staples Center, it looks like Shaq's last name has been put on the front of the jerseys the Lakers have worn since the 1999-2000 season.
Take a look:
That tell-tale notched collar appears on the front of the Lakers' familiar forum-blue-and-gold threads, just above the team's name; conversely, the back of the jerseys, where O'Neal's last name and No. 34 went, feature a rounded collar. And yet, that's not the way it looks on the celebratory item intended to commemorate Shaq's eight years, three NBA championships and one Most Valuable Player award in L.A. ... which seems weird, right?
I've reached out to the Lakers' public relations staff to see if the reversed recognition is intentional, an error or something for which there's another explanation — if/when I hear back, I'll update here. For now, though, soak in the weirdness, and good luck trying to focus on stuff that's not the collar notch whenever you look up into the Staples Center's rafters.