Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal was born on March 6, 1972 in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up, O’Neal would frequent the Boys and Girls Club of America in Newark, which he credited for providing him with a safe place to stay active and keep off the streets. Due to his step-father serving as a career Army Reserve sergeant, O’Neal and his family spent his earlier life relocating to military bases in Germany and Texas, until finally settling down in San Antonio.
Shaquille O’Neal attended Robert G. Cole High School, where he quickly became the star of his high school basketball team, being compared to the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He then attended Louisiana State University (LSU), where he studied business. Shaq earned a number of achievements during his basketball career at LSU; he’s a two-time SEC Player of the Year and a two-time All-American. In addition, he earned the Adolph Rupp Trophy as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Year in 1991. Finally, the Associated Press and UPI named him College Player of the Year.
Playing in the NBA
During the 1992 NBA draft, O’Neal was picked by the Orlando Magic as the first overall draft pick, though he spent a large portion of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, who signed him in 1996. O’Neal also played for the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, and Cleveland Cavaliers before retiring with the Boston Celtics in 2011.
Shaquille O’Neal achieved so much throughout his 19 seasons in the NBA; his career statistics, like his career average of 23.7 points per game on a .582 field goal accuracy, speak for themselves, but his modest upbringing and engaging demeanor exemplify his true character.
Outside of basketball, O’Neal has enjoyed a successful career across acting, music, business, and even law enforcement; he went through the LA County Sheriff’s Reserve Academy and became a reserve officer with the LA Port Police. Even before his retirement, O’Neal became a lovable media personality, often showcasing a humorous side to his personality.
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