by Alan Spector
In 1996, Shaquille O'Neal bolted the Orlando Magic to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
But, on Friday, Shaq was welcomed back with open arms as he was inducted into the Magic Hall of Fame.
In a private ceremony at the Amway Center, O'Neal became the Hall's third inductee, joining Magic founder Pat Williams and former teammate Nick Anderson.
"The Orlando Magic are honored to recognize those who have made significant contributions to our history," said Matci CEO Alex Martins. "Shaq made a tremendous impact on our franchise during his time with us and we are thrilled to recognize him as our third inductee into the Magic Hall of Fame."
"It's a great honor and really, really unexpected," O'Neal said. "When I got the call, I couldn't believe it. But me and the DeVos family, we kept a close relationship even after I left in 1996."
O'Neal spent four seasons with Orlando after having been selected with the first overall pick of the 1992 NBA Draft. He was named an NBA All-Star each year and helped the Magic reach the NBA Finals in 1995.
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