AUSITN -- So what took so long for San Antonio Cole to retire Shaquille O'Neal's No. 33 high school jersey?
O'Neal graduated from Cole in 1989 -- a few months after leading them to a perfect 36-0 record and the Class 3A state championship. But catching up with the basketball legend/rap mogul/commercial pitchman/movie star extraordinare has been difficult at best.
In other words, O'Neal has a busy schedule and is a very busy man.
"We've been trying to (retire O'Neal's jersey) for 15-20 years,'' said Herb Moore, an assistant coach on the 1989 Cole staff. "And it just worked out that we could do it this weekend, which was even better with all the team around.''
LSU retired Shaq's jersey in 2000, and the Los Angeles Lakers retired his jersey last year.
On Saturday, the University Interscholastic League honored Cole for winning the Class 3A state title in 1989. The overwhemling majority of O'Neal's prep teammates were on hand for the 25th-year anniversary.
The honor came one day after Cole retired O'neal's jersey in a Friday night ceremony in San Antonio.
"His accomplishments, you can’t even read them all off it's so vast,'' Moore said. "He's had a wonderful career.''
In Shaq's two seasons at Cole, they posted an impressive 68-1 record. Also, in the 1988-'89 season he grabbed 791 rebounds, which is still a single-season state record regardless of classification.
-- Dwain Price
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