O'Neal thanks Lakers fans for support

LOS ANGELES -- The Big Guy had a big-hearted message for his
Los Angeles fans Sunday.

Shaquille O'Neal took out a full-page advertisement in the Los
Angeles Times to thank his fans for their support during his eight
years with the Los Angeles Lakers. O'Neal signed last week with the
Miami Heat, marking the end of an era during which the Lakers won
three NBA championships.

"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your
incredible support over the last eight years," O'Neal said in the
ad, which included a picture of him smiling and gripping a
basketball in one hand. "I am moving on to the next chapter in my
career, but I will never forget the support that you gave me."

O'Neal, whose dispute with Lakers management led to his
departure, told Lakers fans, "I will miss each and every one of

"You have been there with me through it all -- we never could
have won any of the championships without you," he said.

The Lakers are rebuilding their team around superstar guard Kobe
Bryant, who signed a seven-year contract worth more than $136
million. Rudy Tomjanovich will replace Phil Jackson as coach, and
former Laker Vlade Divac, who was traded in1996, will return to
replace O'Neal at center.