Star player shines on and off the court
STANDING seven feet tall, retired National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar Shaquille O'Neal was known for attempting to tear down basketball hoops as he hung on them after sinking another two points.
But besides his brawn, O'Neal also received his Doctorate in Education from Barry University in Florida, USA, in May this year.
Born Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal on March 6, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey, USA, O'Neal attended Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas, and Louisiana State University.
Once tipping the scale at 315 pounds, this larger-than-life centre was arguably one of the most dominant players in the NBA.
During his years at Louisiana State, O'Neal was named the 1991 College Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American in both 1991 and 1992.
He dropped out of college in 1992 after his junior year to pursue a career in the NBA, winning championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.
O'Neal was named three times to the All-NBA Third Team (1994, 1996 and 1997), with two selections to the NBA Second Team (1995 and 1999).
He was selected to his first All-NBA First Team in 1998 and again in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
In 2000, he was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player.
In 1996, he signed the biggest contract in NBA history, seven years for US$120 million with the LA Lakers.
That same year, he helped the US Dream Team win gold at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
Off the court, Shaq has reinvented himself as both a musician and actor. In 1990, he appeared on Fu-Schnickens' Top-40 single "What's Up Doc?".
In 1993, he released his solo debut, Shaq Diesel. With help from artistes like Def Jef, the album achieved platinum status.
Shaq also appeared in several films, including Blue Chips with Nick Nolte and the star vehicles Kazaam! and Steel, for which he also recorded the soundtrack.
Earlier this year, O'Neil announced his retirement from the NBA, having played for four teams, including the Orlando Magic, Heat and Lakers.