Today in Sports History: July 18

In 1996, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Shaquille O’Neal on a seven-year, $121 million contract, the largest deal in league history at the time. O’Neal allegedly turned down $130 million from the Orlando Magic in favor of Los Angeles. This trade began the Shaq-Kobe era of the Lakers, one of the greatest tandems in NBA History. When coach Phil Jackson took over in 1999, the team won an impressive threepeat, played in four finals, and O’Neal was the finals MVP in all three championships.

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