Exclusive: Shaq Agrees To LSU Statue Unveiling

Yesterday I broke the news that a life-size statue of Shaquille O’Neal commissioned by representatives of LSU’s athletic interests - inside and outside the university - had been completed.

Shaq LSU Statue Plans

In July, 2010, the LSU athletic department made a formal request of the university to erect the now-completed statue outside the LSU basketball practice facility. Today I was told that the request was subsequently granted by the school.

Monday I reported that O’Neal, who has anonymously donated millions to LSU over the years after obtaining his degree from the school in 2000, did not want LSU to celebrate him with a statue on campus.

Shaq LSU Statue Plans

But since my story was published Monday morning, that’s changed.

After I reported the news about O’Neal’s LSU statue yesterday, LSU officials reached out to the future basketball hall of famer to once again ask him if he would allow the school to erect his now-completed statue on the school’s campus as part of a plan to eventually feature four bronzed, life-size likenesses of LSU hoops greats outside the LSU practice facility. (Eventually Pete Maravich, Bob Petit and LSU women’s star Seimone Augustus would also be honored.)

This time, O’Neal relented and agreed to the plan.

I was told today that, though no formal plans are yet in place, O’Neal will be part of an unveiling of his statue outside the LSU practice facility when his schedule allows.

Shaq LSU Statue Photo

When that will be and how it will happen has not yet been determined, but until yesterday, it would not have happened at all.

An announcement from the school about the unveiling of the O’Neal statue could come as early as this week.

UPDATE: LSU spokesman Herb Vincent confirmed the news today to the ASSOCIATED PRESS:

LSU will soon have a permanent fixture of NBA great Shaquille O’Neal executing one of his rim-rocking dunks.

Herb Vincent, LSU associate vice chancellor for communications, tells The Advocate that the university plans to unveil a bronze, life-size statue of a young “Shaq” dunking in his LSU basketball uniform outside of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center’s new practice facility.

The 900-pound statue would represent the first on campus of a former LSU student athlete.

Vincent says the tentative plan is to unveil the statue during the NBA off-season.

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