Up Next

Get Lifted

Shaquille O’Neal to be presented by four NBA legends at HOF ceremony

Shaq discusses his presenters, fellow inductees and why this is ‘one of the greatest classes of all time’

After being elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in April, Shaquille O’Neal faced tough decisions as to who would present him during one of the biggest moments in his life.

Instead of choosing one legend, the former NBA center chose four.

“They wanted me to pick one, but I begged and pleaded,” O’Neal said during a SportsCenter interview Wednesday. “I was like, you know, I can’t just pick one. I need four.”

O’Neal is enlisting the help of former NBA heavy hitters and Hall of Fame inductees Bill Russell (’75), Julius “Dr. J” Erving (’93), Isiah Thomas (’00) and Alonzo Mourning (’14) to present him during the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Each man holds a special place in O’Neal’s life, beginning with Erving, whom O’Neal credits for being the reason he pursued a basketball career, and Mourning for helping O’Neal earn a fourth ring as teammates with the 2006 NBA championship-winning Miami Heat. O’Neal describes Russell as the “greatest big man ever,” and also learned a thing or two about leadership from Thomas.

O’Neal, the 14-time NBA All-Star who played in more than 1,200 games in his 20-year career, will be joined by fellow living inductees Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, Jerry Reinsdorf, Sheryl Swoopes and Tom Izzo.

“This is probably one of the greatest Hall of Fame classes of all time,” he concluded.

Watch O’Neal’s interview below.

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.