Shaquille O’Neal is happy that the Staples Center name is being retired. Christmas day will usher in a new name for the famed arena, one Shaq feels couldn’t have come at a better time. The former Laker and NBA vet recently opened up about his thoughts on the center’s new name, the current roster of Lakers, and current “3-point king” Stephen Curry during the latest episode of his podcast Big Podcast with Shaq. On December 25th, 2021, the Staples Center will be no more. Going forward, it will be called the Crypto.com Area.
It became the Staples Center in 1999 when it was initially opened. This new deal involving the name change is the “largest naming rights deal ever at $700 million over 20 years,” according to CBS Sports. While the name will officially be turned over on Christmas, the official signage outside the arena will reportedly not be up until June 2022. The arena is home to Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Sparks, and countless other teams.
According to Shaq, it has been time for an official name change, as he feels the arena’s glory days are well behind it. Shaq said on his podcast that playing in that building was a blessing that allowed him to do what he loved in front of countless fans, friends, family, and celebrities he admired. He recalled scoring 61 points on his birthday, winning three championships in a row for the city, and much more. He says the Staples Center was “our building,” referring to himself and the late Kobe Bryant.
Shaq decided to elaborate even further, stating that he feels the current roster of Lakers is not worthy of the iconic venue. The former NBA player stated he does not celebrate 7th place and will not attend any more games while asking, “who would want to watch them play?” Instead, O’Neal will be placing his support elsewhere. He shouts out the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry. The NBA legend calls them a team he can celebrate and declares he will only be supporting them from now on.
Shaq is picking an excellent time to jump on the Warriors bandwagon. Steph Curry is the golden child right now. CBS Sports did an article declaring him the “3-Point King”, calling it his “rightful spot.” Curry is widely regarded as one of the best shooters of all time, something he is finally being acknowledged for on a more significant level in recent games. To date, he currently has 2,974 3-point shots to his name, making him statistically the best shooter in basketball history.
With this milestone fading into his rearview, fans and sports analysts believe that by the end of this season, Curry will have earned a spot amongst the five greatest players of all time. This feat is more admirable when considering that for many, Curry was not “greatest of all time” material a few years back. However, he has been able to hush the naysayers and continue to forge a path all his own. If he continues this way, Curry could be eyeing a third MVP award and his fourth NBA title.