Shaq in the rafters: Who says no?


The debate, to me, is cut and dried: Of course Shaq gets his number retired by the Lakers. To the point it's not actually a discussion. (Or, as ESPNLA's Ramona Shelburne writes in this debate, "Duh.") Three titles, three Finals MVP's, a garden variety MVP, and eight seasons of consistent dominance. Sure, he left the team on poor terms. He did the whole "Pay me!" thing, made a bid for the Mt. Rushmore of Selfish Athletes with his "injured on company time/heal on company time" declaration following toe surgery undertaken just before training camp back in '02, and has since become something of a caricature of himself. Among other things.

But c'mon, how is this a conversation?

Still, according to the poll data on ESPNLA.com (vote by clicking the link above), over 40 percent of respondents believe the Lakers shouldn't raise his 34 to the rafters. Really? Not at all? Want to add some stipulations? I can live with that. Wait until he's officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, for example. Reasonable enough. Some suggest the Lakers should wait until Kobe Bryant is up there first. Seems unnecessary, but fine. Or, as 710 ESPN's Steve Mason suggests, "Because he went and played with the Celtics, you have to wait until he's dead... That's officially the rule."

Undoubtedly extreme, but hey, we're talking about the Celtics, right?

It's a bit of a moot point, since the Lakers have said repeatedly they will retire Shaq's number. To me, the reasoning is patently obvious. I'm much more interested in the opinions of those who think they shouldn't.