Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal also known as ‘Shaq’ is a former American basketball player now turned sports pundit.
During his career, he played as a center for as many as six teams in an NBA career spanning 19 years. O’Neal has been described as one of the most imposing men to ever play the game of basketball. Before he turned pro, he played college basketball for the LSU Tigers, where he enjoyed a lot of success at that level.
In 1992, O’Neal was selected as the first overall pick by the Orlando Magic, and he went on to quickly announce his presence in the NBA by winning the Rookie of the Year in the 1992/1993 season. The former Orlando Magic player won four NBA titles and was named the most valued player (MVP) in three NBA finals.
Childhood & Early Life
Shaquille O’Neal was born to Lucille O’Neal and Joe Toney on the 6th of March 1972 in Newark, New Jersey. O’Neal endured a torrid childhood due to the lack of a father figure while growing up. His father had drug use problems and was convicted of the possession of drugs. The relationship with his parents didn’t result in a marriage and his father was not part of his life from childhood and that situation will stay the same for so many years. When O’Neal turned two, his mother met and married Phillip Harrison who was in the U.S Army.
With the commitment of his mother and stepfather, along with the work of the Boys and Girls Club of America, he was able to stay on a straight path. O’Neal particularly singled out the club for praise for helping him stay off the streets and imbibe the right morals. His family moved around quite a bit while he was young. They moved to Germany at some point due to his stepfather’s posting by the U.S. Army. In High School, his basketball talent began coming to the fore and he became a prominent member of his High School basketball team. When he became a senior, the future Miami Heat Star led the Robert G. Cole High School team to the state championship.
After High School, he proceeded to Louisiana State University where he was named SEC Player of the Year twice. Additionally, he got the Rupp’s Trophy for the NCAA men’s best basketball player in 1991.
Shaquille O’Neal enjoyed a rewarding collegiate career while at Louisiana State University (LSU). In no time he became a superstar. He won the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year consecutively in 1991 and 1992.
By the end of his collegiate career, O’Neal had left an indelible mark on the NCAA and he got the much deserved attention from NBA teams. So, it was not a surprise when he was drafted by the Orlando Magic as the first overall pick of the 1992 NBA draft.
After being drafted, he emerged as one the best young prospects in the league. He won the Rookie of the Year in his first season with the franchise and he helped the team reach their maiden playoff appearance a season after. He and his teammates went a step further in his third season with the team by reaching the NBA finals, but they were soundly defeated in four games.
O’Neal spent a further season with Orlando Magic, but he was injured for most of that season. That season marked the end of his time with the franchise before moving on to the LA Lakers. He spent four seasons with the LA Lakers where forged an incredible partnership with Kobe Bryant that saw the franchise win three NBA titles between 2000 and 2002. Incredibly, O’Neal was named the Most valuable player in those three finals. He also emerged as the best NBA player in 2000.
Following a trophy-laden four-year spell with the Lakers, he moved on to join Miami Heats where he forged another partnership with Dwayne Wade. Both players carried the teams on their backs to help the Florida franchise to their first title ever in 2006. After his four-year spell with the Heats, he went to play for the Phoenix Suns, and Cleveland Cavaliers where he teamed up with LeBron James. The Cavs gave a good account of themselves during the regular season but were not good enough to come out tops in the playoffs.
The Newark native had his final hoorah with the Boston Celtics from 2010 to 2011, after which he called time on his career.
Shaquille is famed for his business acumen. He is the epitome of an athlete turned business executive. The former Miami Heat center has invested in close to fifty different businesses. Some of these include JCPenney, Forever 21, and many others. He has been reported to have chains of restaurants, fitness centers, retail malls, movie theaters, and many other business ventures. Aside from his investments and personal businesses, he also has ambassadorial deals with many different companies including online sports betting company, WynnBet.
The NBA legend was announced as one of the faces of the brand in 2021. WynnBet is one the top sportsbooks in America and they have continued to expand with a combination of nice betting features, promotions, and new customer sign-up offers. The betting platform offers competitive betting bonuses for new players and that has continued to attract new players to the betting site. The affiliation with Shaquille O’Neal has had a profound positive effect on the brand, and it made the WynnBet bonus even more popular with American bettors as O’Neal features prominently on their website and in advertisements on various media.
National Team Career
Shaquille O’Neal was part of the Gold winning U.S Men’s basketball team at the Atlanta 96 Olympic Games. He was instrumental in helping the teams win the Gold medal on home soil and in front of American fans.
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Shaquille O’Neal had three siblings, two sisters and a brother namely: Ayesha O’Neal, Jamal O’Neal, and Lateefa O’Neal. In December 2002, Shaquille got married to Shaunie O’Neal, and the marriage was blessed with four children: two sons Sharif and Shaqir O’Neal, and two daughters, Amira and Me’arah. However, the marriage ended in 2011 following a divorce.
O’Neal also has a stepson, Myles, from his ex-wife’s former relationship and a daughter, Taahiraa, together with his former girlfriend, Arnetta Yardbourgh. It has been reported that O’Neal is on good terms with his ex-wife and girlfriend and they continue to co-parent their children.
- Birth Name: Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal
- Nickname: Shaq, Diesel, The Big Aristotle, Shaq Daddy
- Mother’s Name: Lucille O’Neal
- Father’s Name: Joe Toney
- Date of Birth: March 6, 1973
- Nationality: American
- Zodiac sign: Pisces
- Profession: Ex-NBA player, Businessman
- Marital Status: Single
- Hair Colour: Black
- Eye Colour: Dark Brown
- Weight: 147kg
- Height: 7 feet 1 inch
- No of Children: 6
- Net Worth: $400 Million
Shaquille O’Neal is reportedly worth a massive $400 million as of 2023. His main source of income is his earning as a pro baller and endorsements as well as his numerous investments.