The Lakers are retiring Shaq's jersey. Where does he rank among the all-time 34's?
Shaquille O'Neal is a multitalented man who frequently dabbled in basketball - which he happened to be really, really good at. The Lakers are retiring Shaq's No. 34, so let's look back at some other athletes who have donned those digits.
Big Papi has worn the 34 during his entire tenure with the Boston Red Sox. Built in the Shaq mold of "rotund, yet powerful," it would not be shocking to see Ortiz's number on the Fenway Park upper deck one day.
The 20-year-old's childhood idol (since, you know, he's all grown up now), was Mickey Mantle. As a kid, Harper wanted to wear the Mick's No. 7, or some iteration thereof. He settled on 34 because its digits add up rather nicely.
Ryan is maybe best remembered as a 34, although five of his eight career All-Star selections came while wearing No. 30 with the Mets and Angels. He wore 34 with the club he now co-owns, the Texas Rangers, and so maybe it's fitting that he makes this list.
The Round Mound of Rebound is one of the best NBA players to never win a title (somewhere behind Elgin Baylor, and around Karl Malone and John Stockton). He is also, in my opinion, the greatest NBA analyst of all time. His 34 was retired for both the 76ers and the Suns.
Not only was Sweetness one of the most dominant running backs in the game, leading to a Hall of Fame induction in 1993, but he was also an enduring community presence in the city of Chicago. He has a high school named after him, a charity founded on his beliefs and countless local monuments to his legacy of giving back.
So where does Shaq fit among those all-time greats? Would you make a case for Hakeem Olajuwon, Paul Pierce or Rollie Fingers on the list? Someone else? Have at it in the comments …
-- Dakota Gardner / MLB.com