Date of homecoming: 2/22/1998
New team: Los Angeles Lakers
Former team: Orlando Magic
What transpired: O'Neal called the city of Orlando a "dried-up little pond" in the summer of 1996 before signing with the Lakers as a free agent.
Watch it Here
Originally, Shaq was supposed to play his first game as a Laker in Orlando on March 23, 1997. So Magic fans showed up at the game armed with signs that said things like, "WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON? JUDAS-BRUTUS-SHAQ." But because of a knee injury, Shaq couldn't play in the game and didn't sit on the bench during it, which left many Magic fans disappointed.
The Magic faithfull were every bit as fired up 11 months later when Shaq finally did make his long-awaited return to O-Town, though. They cheered when the team played The Beatles' song "I'm a Loser" for Shaq just before tipoff. They booed him every single time he touched the ball. And they held up signs that said, "BENEDICT O'NEAL" as they watched the Magic cruise to a 96-94 win. Not surprisingly, Shaq was unfazed.
"Am I going to go home and drink a whole bottle of Pine Sol?" he asked after the loss. "No. We've just got to move on." Shaq did. And eventually, so did the Magic. But for at least one night, the Magic fans and players hated Shaq, and he hated them right back.