Today in Sports History: January 7

By Brandon Zhu

On this day in 1998, Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal blocked three shots in a 114-102 win over Milwaukee to surpass 1,000 blocks and bring his career total to 1,002. One of the most dominant centers to play in the NBA, O’Neal finished his career with 2,732 blocks (8th all-time in blocks). The first pick in the 1992 NBA draft, O’Neal played 19 seasons and won four NBA championships. O’Neal guided the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive championships and was named NBA Finals MVP all three years. In the 1999-00 season, O’Neal averaged 29 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks, leading the Lakers to 67 wins and secured league MVP. In that same postseason, O’Neal averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds to help the Lakers win their first championship since 1988. In his latter years, O’Neal played a big role in helping the Miami Heat win their first NBA title in 2006. Playing alongside Dwyane Wade, O’Neal averaged 18.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in the 2006 postseason. O’Neals other accolades include 14x All-NBA Team selections, 3x All-NBA Defensive Second Team, 2x NBA scoring champion, and 15x All-Star. O’Neal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. O’Neal’s no. 34 was retired by the Lakers and his no. 32 was retired by the Miami Heat.

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