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Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal O’Neal while meeting U.S. Army soldiers from CENTCOMat MacDill Air Force Basein 2004 Position CenterHeight 7 ft 1 in(2.16 m) Weight 325 lb(147 kg) Team Phoenix SunsJersey #32 Born March 6, 1972(1972-03-06) (age 36)
Newark, New JerseyNationality AmericanHigh school Robert G. Cole(San Antonio, Texas) College LSUDraft 1st overall, 1992
Orlando MagicPro career 1992–present Former teams Orlando Magic(1992–1996)
LA Lakers(1996–2004)
Miami Heat(2004–2008) Awards 4-time NBA Champion
2000 NBA MVP
'92-'93 NBA Rookie of the Year
3-time NBA Finals MVP
2-time All-Star MVP
14-time All-Star
1994 FIBA World Championship WVP
Medal record Men's basketballCompetitor for  United StatesOlympic GamesGold 1996 AtlantaTeam CompetitionWorld ChampionshipGold 1994 CanadaTeam Competition

Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal (pronounced /ʃəˈkiːl rəˈʃɔːn oʊˈniːl/; born March 6, 1972), frequently referred to simply as "Shaq", is an American professional basketball player, rapper and actor. He is often regarded as one of the most dominant in the history of the NBA,[1][2] where he currently plays at center for the Phoenix Suns. O'Neal has won four NBA Championships, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and most recently in 2006, with the Miami Heat.

Contents

Biography

College years

O'Neal first gained national attention as a star at Linton Middle School. He led his Robert G. Cole High School team, San Antonio, Texas, to a 68-1 record during his two years there, and helped the team win the state title his senior year.[3]

After graduating from high school, O'Neal attended Louisiana State University, where he was a member of Omega Psi Phi and studied business. He had first met Dale Brown, LSU's men's basketball coach at that time, years before in Europe. With O'Neal's stepfather stationed on a U.S. Army base at Wildflecken, West Germany, and his god father a First sergeant at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, O'Neal attended Fulda American High School, a DODDS school.

While playing for Brown at LSU, O'Neal was a two time All-American, two-time SEC player of the year, and received the Adolph Rupp Trophy as NCAA men's basketball player of the year in 1991. He also holds the NCAA record for shots blocked in a game with 17 blocks against Mississippi State on December 3, 1990.

O'Neal left LSU early to pursue his NBA career, but returned to school in 2000 and received a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies.[4] He was later inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame.[5]

Orlando Magic

He was drafted as the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. (He would later be teammates on the Miami Heat with the second and third picks of that same draft: Alonzo Mourning and Christian Laettner.) During that summer, prior to moving to Orlando, he spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. O'Neal had an exceptional rookie season, as he helped the Magic win 20 more games than the previous season, with the team ultimately missing the playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker with the Indiana Pacers. O'Neal averaged 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game for the season and was named the 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year. O'Neal played in the All-Star game and scored 14 points. On two occasions during that season, each during a nationally televised game, O'Neal dunked the ball so hard that he broke the backboard support units. On the first occasion, in a game against Phoenix, the force from his dunk caused the entire goal to bend backward, then slowly sink to the ground. On the second occasion, in a game in New Jersey, the force of the dunk brought down the backboard and shot clock with it.

O'Neal's second season was even better than his first. Teaming with newly-drafted Anfernee Hardaway, O'Neal averaged 29.4 points and led the NBA in field goal percentage at 60%. He was also voted into another All-Star game and helped the Magic make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. On November 20, 1993, against the New Jersey Nets, O'Neal registered the first triple-double of his career, recording 24 points to go along with career highs of 28 rebounds and 15 blocks.

In his third season, O'Neal led the NBA in scoring. Orlando won 57 games and won the Atlantic Division. The Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals, but were swept by the Houston Rockets. By O'Neal's own admission, he was badly outplayed during that series by Houston's more experienced superstar center Hakeem Olajuwon, despite putting up admirable numbers in the series. O'Neal has stated that this was one of only two times in his life that he ever cried (the other at the death of his grandmother). His father also used the loss as motivation, saying to his son that "maybe you shouldn't have shook Mr. Olajuwon's hand" (in congratulations for his win).

O'Neal was injured for a great deal of the 1995–96 season, missing 28 games. The Magic won 60 games and won the Atlantic Division again, but Orlando was swept by the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. Now a free agent, O'Neal contemplated whether his future would be best served by remaining with the Magic or by moving on to a new team.

By this point, O'Neal had shown an interest in things outside basketball, including recording several rap albums and acting in films. O'Neal also began taking classes again at LSU to complete his degree, to fulfill his promise to his mother he would graduate. That summer, O'Neal was named to the United States Olympic basketball team, and was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Los Angeles Lakers

After the 1995–96 season, O'Neal left the Orlando Magic to join the Los Angeles Lakers, enticed by the allure of a seven-year, $122 million contract.

O'Neal joined a young Laker squad that had recently returned to the playoffs, but of which little was expected. O'Neal's arrival vastly changed expectations, but he missed a significant number of games due to injury in the 1996-97 season and several players had difficulty meshing with the new focal point of the offense. By 1997–98, key role players Rick Fox and Robert Horry had been added by Laker GM Jerry West. This group meshed well and won 61 regular season games. However, in both of his first two seasons in Los Angeles, O'Neal suffered a lopsided play-off defeat by the Utah Jazz. The Lakers lost the 1997 conference semifinals 4-1 and 1998 conference finals 4-0.

The Lakers were clearly a team on the rise with the tandem of O'Neal and teenage superstar Kobe Bryant. However, the 1998–99 season was marked by nearly constant change within the Lakers. Long-time Lakers point guard Nick Van Exel was traded to the Denver Nuggets after a dispute with O'Neal. His former backcourt partner Eddie Jones was packaged with back-up center Elden Campbell for Glen Rice to satisfy a demand by O'Neal for a shooter. Coach Del Harris was fired and former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman was signed, but Rodman only lasted for 23 games before leaving. The result was no better as the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs would go on to win their first league title that year.

In 1999, the Lakers hired Phil Jackson as their new head coach, and the team's fortunes soon changed. Utilizing Jackson's triangle offense, O'Neal and Kobe Bryant went on to enjoy tremendous success on the court, as they led the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles (2000, 2001, 2002). O'Neal was named MVP of the NBA Finals all three times and has the highest scoring average for a center in NBA Finals history.

O'Neal was also voted the 1999–2000 regular season Most Valuable Player, coming just one vote short of becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. Fred Hickman, then of CNN, was the sole voter who did not cast his first place vote for O'Neal, instead choosing Allen Iverson, then of the Philadelphia 76ers. O'Neal also won the scoring title that year while finishing second in rebounds and third in blocked shots.

Shaquille O'Neal at the White House greeting President Bush with his fellow Lakers.

After the Lakers fell to 5th seed and failed to reach the Finals in 2003, the team made a concerted off-season effort to improve its roster. They sought the free agent services of forward legend Karl Malone and aging guard Gary Payton, but due to salary cap restrictions, could not offer either one nearly as much money as he could have made with other teams. O'Neal assisted in the recruitment efforts and personally persuaded both men to join the team. Ultimately, each of them signed, forgoing larger salaries in favor a chance to win an NBA championship, something neither had yet accomplished in his career (which neither would achieve with the Lakers). At the beginning of the 2003–04 season, with two years left on his contract at the time, O'Neal informed the team of his desire for a substantially larger extension to his contract. O'Neal remained persistently vocal about this desire, but Laker management was hesitant to meet his demands amid concerns about his work ethic and about the possibility of further injuries, and a general decline in his game as he continued to age. It is widely believed that there was also concern about O'Neal's relationship with Kobe Bryant, as the two had exchanged public barbs during the off-season. With Bryant scheduled to become a free agent at the end of that season, many believed he would not choose to remain with the Lakers as O'Neal's sidekick.

The Lakers did eventually offer O'Neal a large contract in February 2004 (according to the book Madmen's Ball by Mark Heisler) under which he would have unquestionably continued to remain the highest paid player in the league, but he refused after feeling his services were not needed.

After the Lakers' loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal became angered by comments made by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak regarding O'Neal's future with the club, as well as by the departure of Lakers coach Phil Jackson due to request of Dr. Buss. O'Neal made comments indicating that he felt the team's decisions were centered on a desire to appease Bryant, to the exclusion of all other concerns, and O'Neal promptly demanded a trade. The Dallas Mavericks and their team owner Mark Cuban were extremely interested in O'Neal and were willing to make a trade with the Lakers, but Kupchak wanted Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs' superstar, in return. Cuban refused to let go of Nowitzki and the Lakers ended trade talks with Dallas. However, Miami showed interest and slowly a trade agreement was made.

Miami Heat

On July 14, 2004, O'Neal was officially traded to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Grant and a future first-round draft choice. O'Neal reverted from his Lakers jersey number 34 to number 32 which he wore while playing for the Orlando Magic. Upon signing with the Heat, O'Neal promised the fans that he would bring a championship to Miami. He claimed that one of the main reasons for wanting to be traded to Miami was because of their up-and-coming star, Dwyane Wade. With O'Neal on board, the new-look Heat surpassed expectations, claiming the best record in the Eastern Conference. Despite being hobbled by a deep thigh bruise, O'Neal led the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals and a Game 7 against the defending champion Detroit Pistons, losing by a narrow margin. He also narrowly lost the 2004–05 MVP Award to Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash in one of the closest votes in NBA history.

O'Neal going in for a layup with the Heat.

In August 2005, O'Neal signed a 5-year-extension with the Heat for $100 million. Supporters applauded O'Neal's willingness to take what amounted to a pay cut, and the Heat's decision to secure O'Neal's services for the long term. They contend that O'Neal was worth more than $20 million per year, particularly given that considerably less valuable players earn almost the same amount. Critics, however, questioned the wisdom of the move, characterizing it as overpaying an aging and often injured player.

In the second game of the 2005–06 season, O'Neal injured his right ankle and subsequently missed the following 18 games. Many critics stated that Heat coach Pat Riley correctly managed O'Neal during the rest of the season, limiting his minutes to a career low. Riley felt doing so would allow O'Neal to be healthier and fresher come playoff time. Although O'Neal averaged career lows (or near-lows) in points, rebounds, and blocks, he said in an interview "Stats don't matter. I care about winning, not stats. If I score 0 points and we win I'm happy. If I score 50, 60 points, break the records, and we lose, I'm pissed off. 'Cause I knew I did something wrong. I'll have a hell of a season if I win the championship and average 20 points a game." During the 2005–06 season, the Heat recorded only a .500 record without O'Neal in the line-up.

On April 11, 2006, Shaquille O'Neal recorded his second career triple-double against the Toronto Raptors with 15 points, 11 rebounds and a career high 10 assists.

O'Neal finished the season as the league leader in field goal percentage; he joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players in league history to lead the league in field goal percentage nine times.

In the 2006 NBA Playoffs, the Miami Heat would go on to win their first NBA Championship. Led by both O'Neal and star Dwyane Wade, the 2nd seeded Heat defeated the defending Eastern Conference Champion and top-seeded Detroit Pistons in a rematch of the 2005 Conference Finals, and then defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals.

O'Neal holding the championship ball when the NBA Champion Heat visited the White House

O'Neal put up considerably lower numbers compared to those he recorded during the 2005–06 regular season, but he twice delivered dominant games in order to close out a playoff series: a 30-point, 20-rebound effort in Game 6 against the Chicago Bulls in the first round, and a 28-point, 16-rebound, 5-block effort in Game 6 against the Pistons. It was O'Neal's fourth title in seven seasons, and fulfilled his promise of delivering an NBA championship to Miami. At the victory celebration O’Neal declared another championship was on the way, saying, "We will see you again next year!"

In the 2006–07 season O'Neal missed over thirty games with a right knee injury. The Miami Heat struggled during his absence but with his return won seven of their next eight games. Bad luck still haunted the squad however, as fellow superstar Dwyane Wade dislocated his left shoulder, leaving O'Neal as the focus of the team. Critics were doubting if O'Neal, now in his mid thirties, was able to put the team on his shoulders and if he could carry them into the playoffs. The Heat went on a much needed winning streak to keep them in the race for a playoff spot, which the Heat finally secured against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 5.

In a rematch of the year before, the Heat faced the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. The Heat struggled against the Bulls and although O'Neal put up reasonable numbers, he was not able to dominate the series. The Bulls outplayed the Heat, resulting in a sweep. It was for the first time in ten years that O'Neal did not advance into the second round.

In the 2006–07 season O'Neal reached 25,000 career points, becoming the 14th player in NBA history to accomplish that milestone. Despite this milestone, the 2006–07 season was the first in his career in which O'Neal's scoring average dropped below 20 points per game.

O'Neal experienced a rough start for the 2007–08 season, averaging career lows in points, rebounds and blocks. His role in the Heat offense diminished, as he attempted only 10 field goals per game, in comparison with his career average of 17. In addition, O'Neal was plagued by fouls, and during one stretch fouled out five consecutive games. As a result of his poor performance and lengthy court absences, O'Neal's 14 straight All-Star appearances ended that season, as he was neither selected as a starter nor as a reserve in the game at New Orleans.

Phoenix Suns

Shaquille O'Neal as a member of the Suns against the New Orleans Hornets, February 27 2008

The Phoenix Suns acquired O'Neal from the Miami Heat in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. O'Neal made his Suns debut on February 20, 2008 against his former Lakers team, scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in the process. The Lakers won, 130-124. O'Neal was upbeat in a post-game press conference, stating: "I will take the blame for this loss because I wasn't in tune with the guys [...] But give me four or five days to really get in tune and I'll get it."[6]

Nonetheless, in 28 regular season games, O'Neal averaged 12.9 points and 10.6 rebounds in his first year with the Suns,[7] reaching the playoffs. One of the alleged reasons for the trade was to limit Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs in case of a series during the postseason, especially after the Suns elimination in the 2007 NBA Playoffs.[8] O'Neal and the Phoenix Suns did face the San Antonio Spurs in first round of the playoffs, yet they were once again eliminated in five games. In the series, O'Neal averaged 15.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.[7]

Player profile

O'Neal's free throw shooting is regarded as one of his major weaknesses.

In his career, O'Neal established himself as a formidable low post presence, putting up lifetime averages of 25.2 points on .581 field goal accuracy, 11.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game (as of May 2008).

At 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m), 325 lb (147 kg/23.2 st)[9] and U.S. shoe size 23,[10] he is famous for his physical stature. His physical frame gives him a power advantage over most opponents, and for a man of that size, he is quick and explosive. His "drop step", (called the "Black Tornado" by O’Neal) in which he posts up a defender, turns around and, using his elbows for leverage, powers past him for a very high-percentage slam dunk, has proven an extremely effective offensive weapon, though it has been limited in recent years. In addition, O'Neal frequently uses a right-handed jump hook shot to score near the basket. The ability to dunk frequently contributes to his lifetime field goal accuracy of .580; he is the second most accurate shooter of all time. [11]

Opposing teams often use up many fouls on O’Neal, limiting the playing time of their own big men. O'Neal's physical presence inside the paint has caused dramatic changes in many teams' offensive and defensive strategies that can be seen over the course of his career. Trying to defend O'Neal, teams put two, or sometimes even three defenders on him, resulting in uncontested shot opportunities for his teammates.

On his own half of the hardwood, O'Neal is considered to be a capable defender, and he was named three times to the All-NBA Second Defensive Team. His presence serves to intimidate opposing players shooting near the basket, and he has averaged 2.4 blocked shots per game over the course of his career. He is a less effective defender at the perimeter, sometimes targeted for pick-and-roll plays by opposing teams.

O'Neal has been able to step up his performance in big games, having been voted three-times NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. However, because of his poor free-throw shooting (see below), often he is either placed on the bench, or not called upon to take shots, in the closing moments of games, when free throws become important.

As a teammate, he is also noted for his ability to form symbiotic relationships with young, talented guards. Playing alongside O'Neal, talents like Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade blossomed into legitimate superstars. Eventually, his relationships with Hardaway and Bryant soured, however O'Neal has embraced his relationship with Wade, and the two have shown to be fully supportive of each other in their three years together.

O'Neal's primary weakness is his free-throw shooting. His lifetime average is 52.4%. He once missed all 11 free throws in a game against the Seattle SuperSonics on December 8, 2000, a record.[12] In hope of exploiting O'Neal's poor foul shooting, opponents often commit intentional fouls against him, a tactic known as "Hack-a-Shaq". O'Neal is the fourth-ranked player all-time in free throws taken,[13] having shot 9744 in 971 games.

NBA regular season statistics

Season Team G GS PPG RPG APG SPG BPG MPG FG% FT% 1992-93 Orlando Magic 81 81 23.4 13.9 1.9 0.7 3.5 37.9 .562 .592 1993-94 Orlando Magic 81 81 29.3 13.2 2.4 0.9 2.8 39.8 .599 .554 1994–95 Orlando Magic 79 79 29.3 11.4 2.7 0.9 2.4 37.0 .583 .533 1995-96 Orlando Magic 54 52 26.6 11.0 2.9 0.6 2.1 36.0 .573 .487 1996-97 Los Angeles Lakers 51 51 26.2 12.5 3.1 0.9 2.9 38.1 .557 .484 1997-98 Los Angeles Lakers 60 57 28.3 11.4 2.4 0.6 2.4 36.3 .584 .527 1998-99 Los Angeles Lakers 49 49 26.3 10.7 2.3 0.7 1.7 34.8 .576 .540 1999–00 Los Angeles Lakers 79 79 29.7 13.6 3.8 0.5 3.0 40.0 .574 .524 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers 74 74 28.7 12.7 3.7 0.6 2.8 39.5 .572 .513 2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers 67 66 27.2 10.7 3.0 0.6 2.0 36.1 .579 .555 2002-03 Los Angeles Lakers 67 66 27.5 11.1 3.1 0.6 2.4 37.8 .574 .622 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers 67 67 21.5 11.5 2.9 0.5 2.5 36.8 .584 .490 2004-05 Miami Heat 73 73 22.9 10.4 2.7 0.5 2.3 34.1 .601 .461 2005–06 Miami Heat 59 58 20.0 9.2 1.9 0.4 1.8 30.6 .600 .469 2006-07 Miami Heat 40 39 17.3 7.4 2.0 0.2 1.4 28.4 .591 .422 2007-08 Miami Heat-Phoenix Suns 56 56 13.6 8.9 1.6 0.5 1.5 28.9 .590 .498 Career 4 teams 1037 1028 25.3 11.5 2.7 0.6 2.4 36.2 .580 .524
  • Bold text indicates a championship season.

Music career

From 1993, O'Neal has pursued a rapping career. He has released 5 studio albums and 1 compilation album. Although his rapping abilities have often been criticized,[14][15] it has been noted that he has continuously been "progressing as a rapper in small steps, not leaps and bounds."[16]

His 1993 debut album, Shaq Diesel, received platinum certification from the RIAA.

Discography

Albums

Album Information Shaq Diesel Shaq-Fu: Da Return You Can't Stop the Reign Respect Shaquille O'Neal Presents His Superfriends, Vol. 1

Compilations

Album Information The Best of Shaquille O'Neal

Soundtracks

Album Information Kazaam Steel
  • Released: July 29, 1997
  • Chart Positions: #185 Us, #26 Top R&B/Hip Hop
  • Last RIAA certification: Gold
  • Singles: "Men of Steel", "Straight Playin'"

Guest appearances

Filmography

Media personality

O'Neal is generally liked by the media for his playful tone in interviews and generally eloquent manner in comparison to other athletes. This has been the main contributing factor in O'Neal's lack of media criticism. He has been called "The Big Aristotle and Hobo Master", a name that was self-given, for his composure and insights during these interviews.

During the 2000 Screen Actors Guild strike, O'Neal performed in a commercial for Disney. O'Neal was fined by the union for crossing the picket line. [17] [18]

O'Neal's humorous and sometimes incendiary comments fueled the Los Angeles Lakers' long standing rivalry with the Sacramento Kings; O'Neal frequently referred to the Sacramento team as the "Queens." During the 2002 victory parade, O'Neal declared that Sacramento will never be the capital of California, after the Lakers beat the Kings in a tough seven game series enroute to completing a three-peat of championship titles. He also received some media flak for mocking Chinese speech when interviewed about newcomer center Yao Ming, but he was able to downplay the media attention to the event. O'Neal told a reporter, "you tell Yao Ming, ching chong yang, wah, ah so". Yao himself stated he did not find it offensive, but could see how others might misinterpret the remark as a racist comment. Yao replied that Chinese is a difficult language to learn. O'Neal's supporters said it was a reaction to Yao being over promoted by marketers and the media. Some blame this hype for allowing Yao to edge O'Neal in fan voting for the starting position of center at the All-Star Game.

During the 2005 NBA playoffs, O'Neal lamented of his poor play due to injury as being comparable to Erick Dampier, a Dallas Mavericks center who had failed to score a single point in one of their recent games. The quip inspired countless citations and references by announcers during those playoffs, though Dampier himself offered little response to the insult. The two would meet in the 2006 NBA Finals.

On May 24, 2005, when Brian Hill was re-announced as head coach of his former team, the Orlando Magic, O'Neal was quoted as saying, "It's good that he's back. When I buy the team Magic in three years, he'll be working for me." Whether or not this will raise speculation of O'Neal's life after playing basketball remains to be seen.[19]

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Shaquille O'Neal

He is very vocal with the media, and often jabs at former Laker teammate Kobe Bryant. In the summer of 2005, when asked about Kobe, he responded, "I'm sorry, who?" and continued to pretend that he did not know who Kobe was until well into the 2005-2006 season.

He has also appeared in many other shows such as Saturday Night Live and in 2007 hosted Shaq's Big Challenge, a reality show on ABC where he challenged Florida kids to lose weight and stay in shape.

When the Lakers faced the Miami Heat on January 16, 2006, O'Neal and Kobe Bryant made headlines by engaging in handshakes and hugs before the game, an event that is believed to signify the end of the so-called "Shaq-Kobe feud" that had festered since the center left Los Angeles. O'Neal was quoted as saying that he accepted the advice of NBA legend Bill Russell to make peace with Bryant.[20]

O'Neal has several nicknames, some of which have been given by the media. Some of the most common ones are "Shaq", "The Diesel"[citation needed], "Shaq Fu", "The Big Aristotle"[citation needed], "The Big Daddy"[citation needed], "Superman"[citation needed], "The Big Agave"[citation needed], "The Big Cactus"[citation needed], "The Big Shaqtus", "Wilt Chamberneezy", "The Big Baryshnikov"[citation needed], "The Real Deal"[citation needed] and most recently, after earning his MBA, "Dr. Shaq"[citation needed].[21][22]

Personal life

O'Neal was born in Newark, New Jersey. He remains estranged from his biological father, Joseph Toney of Newark. Toney has struggled with drug addiction and was imprisoned when O'Neal was an infant. Upon his release, Toney did not resume a place in O'Neal's life and instead agreed to surrender his parental rights to O'Neal's stepfather, Phillip A. Harrison, an army sergeant.[23] O'Neal and Toney have never spoken, and O'Neal has expressed no interest in a reconciliation.[24] On his 1994 rap album, Shaq Fu: The Return, O'Neal voiced his feelings of disdain for Toney in the song "Biological Didn't Bother", referring to Harrison with the verse, "Phil is my father."

In his mansion in Orlando, Florida, O'Neal has a homemade movie theater with two rows of five retractable chairs, Superman lights, another Superman symbol on the floor, a big screen, another superman symbol on his blanket, and 5.1 surround sound. O'Neal also has an inside basketball court where he says he knows he's not good at free throws so any down time he has he practices shooting free throws.

O'Neal, whose mother, Lucille (née O'Neal), is a Baptist and stepfather a Muslim, has not formally announced affiliation with a specific faith though in 2002, the Los Angeles Times identified O'Neal as being Muslim. The newspaper quoted him as saying, "It's a Muslim thing", with regard to the greetings he exchanged with opposing player Hedo Turkoglu before each game of that year's Western Conference Finals series. The newspaper also quoted Turkoglu as saying that he was not surprised at the gesture from O'Neal "because Muslim people support each other."[25]

O'Neal married Shaunie Nelson on December 26, 2002. The couple have four children (Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me'arah, ages ranging from 6 to 1, in order), and Nelson has one child from a previous relationship (Myles, 8). O'Neal also has a daughter from a previous relationship (Taahirah, 9), making him the father of six. The family currently resides on Star Island in Miami, Florida. On September 4, 2007, O'Neal filed for divorce from his wife Shaunie in a Miami-Dade Circuit court. According to the petition, "The marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken", and that Shaunie was "secretive about her assets ... particularly with respect to certain properties owned or titled in either [her] name alone or in other entities" and requests that the court require Shaunie to give a "correct accounting of all money, funds, stocks, bonds, and other securities (including bearer securities)"

Off court

O'Neal left LSU for the NBA after three years. However, he promised his mother he would eventually return to his studies and complete his bachelor's degree. He fulfilled that promise in 2000, earning his bachelor of arts in general studies.[26] Coach Phil Jackson let O'Neal miss a home game so he could attend graduation. At the ceremony, he told the crowd "now I can go and get a real job". Subsequently, O'Neal earned a MBA online through the University of Phoenix in 2005. He has stated his intentions to begin work on his doctoral degree in criminology or art history in 2006.

It's just something to have on my resume for when I go back into reality. Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else.[27]

— Shaquille O'Neal, in reference to his completion of an MBA degree

Also, Shaquille O'Neal has maintained a high level of interest in the workings of the police department and has become personally involved in law enforcement. O'Neal went through the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Reserve Academy and became a reserve officer with the L.A. Port Police. He is seen in a commercial for ESPN in Miami Police garb climbing up a tree to rescue LSU mascot Mike the Tiger. On March 2, 2005, he was given an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshal title and named the spokesman for the Safe Surfin' Foundation; he will serve an honorary role on the task force of the same name, which tracks down sexual predators who target children on the Internet.[28] Upon his trade to Miami, O'Neal began training to become a Miami Beach reserve officer; on December 8, 2005, he was sworn in as a reserve officer (he elected a private ceremony so not to distract the other officers from their special moment). Shortly thereafter, in Miami, O'Neal was a witness to a hate crime and called Miami-Dade police, giving them a description of the suspect and helping police, over his cell phone, track the offender. O'Neal credits this as his first "arrest". O'Neal is looking to expand his business ventures with real-estate-development projects aimed at assisting Orlando homeowners facing foreclosure. His plans involve buying the mortgages of those who have fell into foreclosure and then selling the homes back under more affordable terms. He would make a small profit in return, but overall, O'Neal is looking to make an investment in Orlando and help out the homeowners of the city. [29]

Notable incidents

In the summer of 2001, holding a basketball camp on the campus of Louisiana State University, O'Neal was challenged by LSU alumnus and current Boston Celtics player Glen "Big Baby" Davis, then 15 years of age and attending high school, to a friendly wrestling match, in which O'Neal, weighing 350 lb (160 kg/25 st), was lifted and body-slammed to the ground, leaving an impression on him.[30]

During a shootaround prior to the season opener versus the Utah Jazz in 1997, O'Neal got into a spat with Utah center Greg Ostertag, slapping him and sending him tumbling to the floor. O'Neal was suspended for the incident. He did not play in the game, due to an abdomen injury.

Television and video game appearances

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See also

References

  1. ^ Shaquille O’Neal
  2. ^ NBA.com: Trophies For Everybody
  3. ^ Shaq timeline. South Florida Sun-Sentinel (2004-07-11). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.
  4. ^ O'Neal to get degree from LSU (2000-12-12). Retrieved on 2007-03-07.
  5. ^ barrystickets.com, O'Neal: LSU Hall of Fame, accessed, March 3, 2007
  6. ^ ESPN - Daily Dime: Shaq gets the spotlight, while Kobe gets the game ESPN.com
  7. ^ a b Shaquille O'Neal career stats and splits NBA.com
  8. ^ Why Shaq? Here’s Why dimemag.com
  9. ^ http://www.nba.com/suns/news/tribune_080207_shaq.html
  10. ^ NBA.com : Shaquille O'Neal Bio Page
  11. ^ Career Leaders and Records for Field Goal Pct - Basketball-Reference.com
  12. ^ NBA.com: Regular Season Records: Free Throws
  13. ^ Career Leaders and Records for Free Throw Attempts - Basketball-Reference.com
  14. ^ "Shaq Diesel" review allmusicguide.com
  15. ^ "You Can't Stop the Reign" review ew.com
  16. ^ "Shaquille O'Neal Presents His Superfriends, Vol. 1" review allmusicguide.com
  17. ^ Admen strike back against SAG/AFTRA - Entertainment News, Business News, Media - Variety
  18. ^ BBC News | ENTERTAINMENT | Sports stars break Hollywood strike
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ ESPN - Miami vs. Los Angeles - Recap - January 16, 2006
  21. ^ [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/extramustard/04/03/hotclicks.0403/index.html SI.com - Extra Mustard - April, 3, 2008
  22. ^ CNNSI.com - SI Writers - Jack McCallum - Inside the NBA - SI's Jack McCallum: Sizing up Shaq - Tuesday December 10, 2002 01:08 PM
  23. ^ Shaquille O'Neal Biography (1972-)
  24. ^ Plaschke, Bill. "Biological dad 'dead' to Shaq", The Cincinnati Post (Los Angeles Times), E. W. Scripps Company, 2002-06-12. Archived from the original on 2007-05-21
  25. ^ Brown, Tim and Bill Plaschke. (2002, May 29). " Laker Notes", Los Angeles Times, Page D.6
  26. ^ O'Neal to get degree from LSU - Sports
  27. ^ The Big Executive? Shaq masters MBA - NBA - MSNBC.com
  28. ^ SI.com - NBA - Shaq goes undercover for Justice Dept. probe - Wednesday May 25, 2005 2:56 p.m.
  29. ^ Schlueb, Mark (2008-06-11). "Shaq: I can help homeowners fight off foreclosure". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved on 2008-06-11.
  30. ^ Patrick Parker, Shaq vs. Big Baby, ESPN.com, March 27, 2008.
  31. ^ The World's Finest - Static Shock
  32. ^ Shaquille O'Neal at the Internet Movie Database

Salarie reference: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/o/onealsh01.html

Further reading

O'Neal's autobiography Shaq Talks Back
  • Shaq Talks Back: The Uncensored Word on My Life and Winning in the NBA Hardback (April 10, 2001)
  • Shaq Talks Back: The Uncensored Word on My Life and Winning in the NBA Paperback, Revised (February 18, 2002)
  • A Good Reason to Look Up (1998)
  • Shaq and the Beanstalk and Other Very Tall Tales (1999) Hardcover

External links

  Shaquille O'Neal - Navigation boxes and awards v • d • ePhoenix Sunscurrent roster

1 Stoudemire | 2 Giriček | 3 Diaw | 4 Marks | 8 Strawberry | 10 Barbosa | 13 Nash | 19 Bell | 29 Tucker | 32 O'Neal | 33 Hill | 43 Johnson | 52 Piatkowski | 54 Skinner | Coach Porter

v • d • eUnited States squad- 1994 FIBA World Championship Champions - Gold medalDumars | 5 Price | 6 Coleman | 7 Kemp | 8 Smith | 9 Majerle | 10 Miller | 11 K.Johnson | 12 Wilkins | 13 O'Neal | 14 Mourning | 15 L.Johnson | Coach: Nelson v • d • e1996 OlympicChampions Men's BasketballUnited StatesCharles Barkley| Penny Hardaway| Grant Hill| Karl Malone| Reggie Miller| Hakeem Olajuwon| Shaquille O'Neal | Gary Payton| Scottie Pippen| Mitch Richmond| David Robinson| John Stockton| Coach: Lenny Wilkens v • d • e1992 NBA DraftFirst Round
Shaquille O'Neal • Alonzo MourningChristian LaettnerJim JacksonLaPhonso EllisTom GugliottaWalt WilliamsTodd DayClarence WeatherspoonAdam KeefeRobert HorryHarold MinerBryant StithMalik SealyAnthony PeelerRandy WoodsDoug ChristieTracy MurrayDon MacLeanHubert DavisJon BarryOliver MillerLee MayberryLatrell SprewellElmore SpencerDave JohnsonByron HoustonSecond Round
Marlon MaxeyP.J. BrownSean Rooks• Reggie Smith • Brent PriceCorey WilliamsChris SmithTony BennettDuane Cooper• Isaiah Morris • Elmer BennettLitterial Green• Steve Rogers • Popeye JonesMatt GeigerPredrag DanilovićHenry WilliamsChris KingRobert WerdannDarren MorningstarBrian Davis• Ron Ellis • Matt Fish• Tim Burroughs • Matt SteigengaCurtis Blair• Brett Roberts Draft Templates
83 • 84 • 85 • 86 • 87 • 88 • 89 • 90 • 91 • 92 • 93 • 94 • 95 • 96 • 97 • 98 • 99 • 00 • 01 • 02 • 03 • 04 • 05 • 06 • 07 • 08 v • d • eNational Basketball Associationnumber one overall draft picks1947: McNeeley| 1948: Tonkovich| 1949: Shannon| 1950: Share| 1951: Melchiorre| 1952: Workman| 1953: Beck| 1954: Selvy| 1955: Ricketts| 1956: Green| 1957: Hundley| 1958: Baylor| 1959: Boozer| 1960: Robertson| 1961: Bellamy| 1962: McGill| 1963: Heyman| 1964: Barnes| 1965: Hetzel| 1966: Russell| 1967: Walker| 1968: Hayes| 1969: Alcindor| 1970: Lanier| 1971: Carr| 1972: L. Martin| 1973: Collins| 1974: Walton| 1975: D. Thompson| 1976: Lucas| 1977: Benson| 1978: M. Thompson| 1979: E. Johnson| 1980: Carroll| 1981: Aguirre| 1982: Worthy| 1983: Sampson| 1984: Olajuwon| 1985: Ewing| 1986: Daugherty| 1987: D. Robinson| 1988: Manning| 1989: Ellison| 1990: Coleman| 1991: L. Johnson| 1992: O'Neal | 1993: Webber| 1994: G. Robinson| 1995: Smith| 1996: Iverson| 1997: Duncan| 1998: Olowokandi| 1999: Brand| 2000: K. Martin| 2001: Brown| 2002: Yao| 2003: James| 2004: Howard| 2005: Bogut| 2006: Bargnani| 2007: Oden| 2008: TBD v • d • eNational Basketball Association's50 Greatest Players in NBA HistoryKareem Abdul-JabbarNate ArchibaldPaul ArizinCharles BarkleyRick BarryElgin BaylorDave BingLarry BirdWilt ChamberlainBob CousyDave CowensBilly CunninghamDave DeBusschereClyde DrexlerJulius ErvingPatrick EwingWalt FrazierGeorge GervinHal GreerJohn HavlicekElvin HayesMagic JohnsonSam JonesMichael JordanJerry LucasKarl MaloneMoses MalonePete MaravichKevin McHaleGeorge MikanEarl MonroeHakeem Olajuwon• Shaquille O'Neal • Robert ParishBob PettitScottie PippenWillis ReedOscar RobertsonDavid RobinsonBill RussellDolph SchayesBill SharmanJohn StocktonIsiah ThomasNate ThurmondWes UnseldBill WaltonJerry WestLenny WilkensJames Worthy v • d • eNBA Finals MVP Award1969: West| 1970: Reed| 1971: Abdul-Jabbar| 1972: Chamberlain| 1973: Reed| 1974: Havlicek| 1975: Barry| 1976: White| 1977: Walton| 1978: Unseld| 1979: D. Johnson| 1980: E. Johnson| 1981: Maxwell| 1982: E. Johnson| 1983: Malone| 1984: Bird| 1985: Abdul-Jabbar| 1986: Bird| 1987: E. Johnson| 1988: Worthy| 1989: Dumars| 1990: Thomas| 1991: Jordan| 1992: Jordan| 1993: Jordan| 1994: Olajuwon| 1995: Olajuwon| 1996: Jordan| 1997: Jordan| 1998: Jordan| 1999: Duncan| 2000: O'Neal | 2001: O'Neal | 2002: O'Neal | 2003: Duncan| 2004: Billups| 2005: Duncan| 2006: Wade| 2007: Parker v • d • eNBA MVP Award1956: Pettit| 1957: Cousy| 1958: Russell| 1959: Pettit| 1960: Chamberlain| 1961: Russell| 1962: Russell| 1963: Russell| 1964: Robertson| 1965: Russell| 1966: Chamberlain| 1967: Chamberlain| 1968: Chamberlain| 1969: Unseld| 1970: Reed| 1971: Abdul-Jabbar| 1972: Abdul-Jabbar| 1973: Cowens| 1974: Abdul-Jabbar| 1975: McAdoo| 1976: Abdul-Jabbar| 1977: Abdul-Jabbar| 1978: Walton| 1979: M. Malone| 1980: Abdul-Jabbar| 1981: Erving| 1982: M. Malone| 1983: M. Malone| 1984: Bird| 1985: Bird| 1986: Bird| 1987: Johnson| 1988: Jordan| 1989: Johnson| 1990: Johnson| 1991: Jordan| 1992: Jordan| 1993: Barkley| 1994: Olajuwon| 1995: Robinson| 1996: Jordan| 1997: K. Malone| 1998: Jordan| 1999: K. Malone| 2000: O'Neal | 2001: Iverson| 2002: Duncan| 2003: Duncan| 2004: Garnett| 2005: Nash| 2006: Nash| 2007: Nowitzki| 2008: Bryant v • d • eNBA Rookie of the Year Award1953: Meineke| 1954: Felix| 1955: Pettit| 1956: Stokes| 1957: Heinsohn| 1958: Sauldsberry| 1959: Baylor| 1960: Chamberlain| 1961: Robertson| 1962: Bellamy| 1963: Dischinger| 1964: Lucas| 1965: Reed| 1966: Barry| 1967: Bing| 1968: Monroe| 1969: Unseld| 1970: Alcindor| 1971: Cowens& Petrie| 1972: Wicks| 1973: McAdoo| 1974: DiGregorio| 1975: Wilkes| 1976: Adams| 1977: Dantley| 1978: Davis| 1979: Ford| 1980: Bird| 1981: Griffith| 1982: Williams| 1983: Cummings| 1984: Sampson| 1985: Jordan| 1986: Ewing| 1987: Person| 1988: Jackson| 1989: Richmond| 1990: Robinson| 1991: Coleman| 1992: Johnson| 1993: O'Neal | 1994: Webber| 1995: Hill& Kidd| 1996: Stoudamire| 1997: Iverson| 1998: Duncan| 1999: Carter| 2000: Brand& Francis| 2001: Miller| 2002: Gasol| 2003: Stoudemire| 2004: James| 2005: Okafor| 2006: Paul| 2007: Roy| 2008: Durant v • d • eNBA All-Star Game MVP Award1951: Macauley| 1952: Arizin| 1953: Mikan| 1954: Cousy| 1955: Sharman| 1956: Pettit| 1957: Cousy| 1958: Pettit| 1959: Baylor& Pettit| 1960: Chamberlain| 1961: Robertson| 1962: Pettit| 1963: Russell| 1964: Robertson| 1965: Lucas| 1966: A. Smith| 1967: Barry| 1968: Greer| 1969: Robertson| 1970: Reed| 1971: Wilkins| 1972: West| 1973: Cowens| 1974: Lanier| 1975: Frazier| 1976: Bing| 1977: Erving| 1978: R. Smith| 1979: Thompson| 1980: Gervin| 1981: Archibald| 1982: Bird| 1983: Erving| 1984: Thomas| 1985: Sampson| 1986: Thomas| 1987: Chambers| 1988: Jordan| 1989: Malone| 1990: Johnson| 1991: Barkley| 1992: Johnson| 1993: Stockton& Malone| 1994: Pippen| 1995: Richmond| 1996: Jordan| 1997: Rice| 1998: Jordan| 1999: No Game Played | 2000: O'Neal & Duncan| 2001: Iverson| 2002: Bryant| 2003: Garnett| 2004: O'Neal | 2005: Iverson| 2006: James| 2007: Bryant| 2008: James v • d • eLos Angeles Lakers1999-2000 NBA Champions

2 Fisher | 3 George | 4 Harper | 5 Horry | 8 Bryant | 10 Lue | 11 Celestand | 16 Salley | 17 Fox | 20 Shaw | 34 O'Neal (Finals MVP) | 40 Knight | 41 Rice | 45 Green | Coach Jackson

v • d • eLos Angeles Lakers2000-01 NBA Champions

2 Fisher | 3 George | 4 Harper | 5 Horry | 8 Bryant | 10 Lue | 17 Fox | 20 Shaw | 34 O'Neal (Finals MVP) | 35 Madsen | 40 Foster | 54 Grant | Coach Jackson

v • d • eLos Angeles Lakers2001-02 NBA Champions

2 Fisher | 3 George | 5 Horry | 8 Bryant | 10 Hunter | 14 Medvedenko | 17 Fox | 20 Shaw | 23 Richmond | 34 O'Neal (Finals MVP) | 35 Madsen | 52 Walker | Coach Jackson

v • d • eMiami Heat2005-06 NBA Champions

1 Wright | 3 Wade (Finals MVP) | 5 D. Anderson | 8 Walker | 20 Payton | 24 Kapono | 25 Simien | 30 Barron | 32 O'Neal | 33 Mourning | 40 Haslem | 42 Posey | 49 S. Anderson | 51 Doleac | 55 Williams | Coach Riley

Awards Preceded by
Chris JacksonSEC Men's Basketball Player of the Year
1991, 1992 Succeeded by
AP: Jamal Mashburn, Billy McCaffrey
Coaches: Jamal Mashburn Preceded by
Larry JohnsonNBA first overall draft pick
1992 NBA DraftSucceeded by
Chris WebberPreceded by
Larry Johnson NBA Rookie of the Year
1992-93Succeeded by
Chris Webber Preceded by
Toni KukočFIBA World Championship
MVP
1994Succeeded by
Dejan BodirogaPreceded by
Karl MaloneNBA Most Valuable Player
1999-2000Succeeded by
Allen IversonPreceded by
Tim DuncanNBA FinalsMost Valuable Player
2000
2001
2002Succeeded by
Tim DuncanPreceded by
Michael JordanNBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player
2000
co-awardee with Tim DuncanSucceeded by
Allen IversonPreceded by
Kevin GarnettNBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player
2004Succeeded by
Allen Iverson
PersondataNAME O'Neal, Shaquille Rashaun ALTERNATIVE NAMES the Diesel; the Big Aristotle; Superman SHORT DESCRIPTION Professional basketball player DATE OF BIRTH March 6, 1972PLACE OF BIRTH Newark, New JerseyDATE OF DEATH PLACE OF DEATH
Categories: 1972 births | African American sportspeople | American municipal police officers | American rappers | American television personalities | American Muslims | Basketball players at the 1996 Summer Olympics | Centers (basketball) | Living people | Los Angeles Lakers players | Louisiana State University alumni | LSU Hall of Fame members | LSU Tigers basketball players | McDonald's High School All-Americans | Miami Heat players | Military brats | Olympic basketball players of the United States | Olympic gold medalists for the United States | Orlando Magic players | People from Baton Rouge, Louisiana | People from Newark, New Jersey | People from San Antonio, Texas | Phoenix Suns players | United States men's national basketball team membersHidden categories: All articles with dead external links | Articles with dead external links since March 2008 | Semi-protected | Semi-protected against vandalism | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since June 2008

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