Everything seemed to go well at former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey retirement ceremony at the Staples Center on Tuesday evening, except for one important detail: his last name and jersey number were mistakenly printed on the front instead of the back of the uniform.
Fans including actor Jack Nicholson, of course, rose to their feet, giving the legendary basketball player whose career spans two decades, a standing ovation and rousing cheer as Shaq took center court again, to see his jersey retired to the rafters to join those of other former Lakers including Magic Johnson and James Worthy.
At the end of the jersey retirement ceremony -- which occurred at halftime of the Lakers-Mavericks game, and after Kobe Bryant’s appreciative video message and Phil Jackson’s lighthearted roasting of Shaq (he told the crowd that Shaq showed up late to practice one time in nothing but his basketball shoes) -- executive vice president of business operations Jeanie Buss led the crowd in a 3-2-1 countdown.
A black curtain was slowly lowered and revealed O’Neal's No. 34 jersey and the snafu. Bleacher Report tweeted:
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Shaq's retired Lakers jersey in the rafters at Staples Center is backwards twitter.com/BleacherReport…
â€” Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 3, 2013
Lakers officials acknowledged their mistake, and told the Los Angeles Times, “The oversight will be corrected and a new jersey put up as soon as possible," team spokesman, John Black, said on Wednesday.
O’Neal, who spent eight years with the Lakers, announced his retirement on Twitter, June, 2011.
Check out the video of the entire ceremony below: