8 Things You Didn’t Know About Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most successful basketball players of all time and has achieved great things both in and out of the sport, but there are still some things about him that you may not know about. In this article, we’ll go over eight facts about Shaquille O’Neal that you may not know!
1) He was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey
Shaquille O’Neal was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 6, 1972. He was raised by his mother, Lucille O’Neal, and he has two brothers and three sisters. Shaq’s father was absent for much of his childhood, and he credits his mother for instilling strong values in him. Lucille worked hard to provide for her family and instilled a strong work ethic in her children. Shaq attended Newark public schools and was a standout student-athlete. Several colleges recruited him to play basketball, but he ultimately chose to attend Louisiana State University on a full scholarship. After one year at LSU, the NCAA ruled that he had received improper benefits from both a car dealership and an agent, so he lost his eligibility. In 1993, O’Neal enrolled at LSU again (this time as a non-scholarship player), graduating with bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and General Studies. After being drafted into the NBA with the first overall pick by the Orlando Magic in 1992, Shaq spent four years with them before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired from professional basketball after playing 19 seasons in 2011, during which time he won four NBA championships (2000–2002; 2006).
2) He has a Ph.D. in education
You probably know that Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most successful basketball players. But did you know that he also has a Ph.D. in education? In 2005, he was named an honorary professor at Southampton College and taught general psychology and human sexuality courses for three semesters. In 2008, he obtained his Doctorate from Barry University and now sits on their Board of Trustees.
His doctorate dissertation was An Analysis of Leadership Styles in Diverse Situations.
He received an honorary doctorate from Louisiana State University for his accomplishments in athletics and entertainment. He wrote two books with Jackie MacMullan: Shaq Talks Back (1995) and I’m Outta Here! (1999). And even won an Emmy Award for his appearance on Saturday Night Live. The top of Shaq’s left pinky finger doesn’t touch the palm because it’s crooked, which gives him an outstanding grip. He got it fixed to allow him to sign autographs more easily.
Shaq is 6’11 and weighs 325 pounds, but he wears size 20 shoes. He also wears size 22XL shirts because they’re easier to find than size 24XLT shirts.
3) He studied at LSU
Shaquille O’Neal was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 6, 1972. His mother, Lucille, was a college basketball player, and his father, Joseph Toney, was a drug counselor. When Shaq was three years old, his parents divorced, and his mother raised him. Lucille moved the family to San Antonio, Texas, where she worked two jobs to support her children. Despite their financial struggles, Lucille ensured her children had every opportunity to succeed. Shaq excelled in academics and athletics from an early age. He attended Robert G. Cole High School, where he played on the basketball team and was named a McDonald’s All-American. After high school, Shaq enrolled at Louisiana State University on a full scholarship. Shaq majored in math at LSU but was also recruited for the men’s basketball team. As a collegiate athlete, Shaq led LSU to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and graduated with honors before being drafted first by the Orlando Magic in 1992.
Shaq spent most of his career with the Lakers until 2008, when he retired as one of only three players to have ever scored more than 30,000 points while shooting 60% or better from the field. Today, Shaq is enjoying retirement as a TV personality who has guest starred on numerous shows, including Entourage and CSI: Miami.
4) His first pro contract was with the Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic drafted Shaquille O’Neal with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. He signed a seven-year, $40 million contract with the team, making him one of the highest-paid rookies in the history of the NBA. His nicknames include Shaq and Big Daddy. In 1993, he won his first NBA Championship with the Magic. One year later, he joined Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and led them to their sixth championship together (alongside Scottie Pippen). His second stint in Los Angeles from 1996 to 2004 also flourished; he won three consecutive titles (2000–2002) alongside Kobe Bryant and Coach Phil Jackson. With James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, they made up one of the most dominant dynasties in sports history. Shaq has been inducted into four different Hall of Fames: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2012), National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (2006), FIBA Hall of Fame (2007), and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as an inaugural member among women players in 1999.
5) He played for the Heat from 1992-1996
In 1992, Shaquille O’Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic as the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. He spent four seasons with the Magic, leading them to the 1995 NBA Finals. In 1996, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, winning three consecutive NBA championships. From 2000-2004, O’Neal played for the Lakers before being traded to the Miami Heat. He won his fourth NBA championship with the Heat in 2006. Following the 2005-06 season, O’Neal signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Suns and remained there until 2008. He joined the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2008-09 season and later returned to Los Angeles Lakers. On June 1, 2011, O’Neal was traded back to Cleveland alongside Sasha Pavlovic. On September 28, 2012, he announced that this would be his final season of professional basketball and that he would retire at the end of it. He is well known for his high-profile disputes with other players (including Dikembe Mutombo), referees, coaches, and journalists; no player has been more efficient and controversial than O’Neal.
6) His nickname is Shaq
When he’s not shooting hoops or analyzing the game on TV, Shaq is a busy man. He’s an investor, philanthropist, and real estate mogul. And he doesn’t do anything halfway. For example, did you know that he owns 3600 acres in Louisiana? He loves to hunt deer and fish for bass in his spare time. The name Shaq comes from when his mother would call him Big Daddy, which morphed into Shaq Daddy. Shaq is married with four children and five grandchildren. His favorite number is 32 because it signifies that he was a part of three championship teams (two with the Lakers). He was drafted by Orlando and LA but chose LA because it felt like home. Shaq has played professionally in both the NBA and ABA. He won three titles with the Lakers and one with Miami. One of the most famous moments in sports history happened during the 2000 Finals when Kobe Bryant missed a potential game-winning shot, which led to Tracy McGrady having one chance at tying up the series. However, Shaq defended T-Mac well enough to prevent him from even getting off a shot, clinching another title for Laker Nation. Unsurprisingly, some consider this play one of his best ever.
Basketball isn’t all this big guy does: As mentioned before, Shaq is an analyst on TNT’s Inside The NBA alongside Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, where they break down games live every night during basketball season. The show averages over 2 million viewers per episode!
7) Big Daddy, The Diesel, Superman, Big Shamrock, and Super Duper!
Shaq is probably at his home in Atlanta, which spans 28,000 square feet, when he’s not on the court or in the studio. But that’s not his only property. The retired NBA star also owns a 3600-acre farm in Louisiana, which he bought in 2013. He has plans to use it as a hunting reserve and nature preserve for endangered species. He has no shortage of money and doesn’t need any more properties – but he can afford them! He may be one of the most famous people in the world, but there are still many things you don’t know about him. Here are eight things you didn’t know about Shaquille O’Neal:
1) Big Daddy, The Diesel, Superman, Big Shamrock, and Super Duper!: Shaq is probably at his home in Atlanta, which spans 28,000 square feet, when he’s not on the court or in the studio. But that’s not his only property. The retired NBA star also owns a 3600-acre farm in Louisiana, which he bought in 2013. He has plans to use it as a hunting reserve and nature preserve for endangered species.
8) He owns 3600 acres of land in Louisiana
When he retired from the NBA in 2011, Shaquille O’Neal was one of the world’s most successful and well-known athletes. But there are many things that even his most diehard fans might not know about him. Here are eight interesting facts about Shaq. 1) He owns 3600 acres of land in Louisiana. 2) He has never been to first base with a woman. 3) He won four consecutive national championships with LSU’s basketball team in college. 4) He has been named Player of the Year four times during his career: twice as an All-Star center and twice as a member of the Phoenix Suns. 5) His shoe size is 22 feet 8 inches. 6) He lives in Orlando, Florida, with his three children, ages 9, 10, and 11. 7) His father is Philip Harrison, and his mother is Lucille O’Neal. 8) The Guinness World Records organization awarded him the distinction of being both the Tallest Professional Athlete (7 feet 1 inch tall) and the Heaviest Professional Athlete (317 pounds). He was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, despite having played only half his career in the NBA. In 1992, at age 19, Shaquille O’Neal enrolled at Louisiana State University on a basketball scholarship. Over the next four years, he would win four consecutive NCAA Championships while dominating the NCAA scene like no other player before or since.
He has always been quick to deflect credit for his success onto those around him—teammates, coaches, and family members alike—so it may be a surprise that the man who never got to first base holds five professional titles: two All-Star Game MVPs and three Finals MVPs.
Shaquille O’Neal currently lives in Orlando with his wife Shaunie and their three children, Shareef Jr., Amirah Ali, and Me’arah Qupita Rolle.