Basketball players are not renowned for their educational achievements. Many are recruited while still in college. Some go on to finish their degrees in spite of the heavy loads they have on their plates as professional players.
In this article, I want to tell you about one of these graduating basketball players. And not only did he graduate from college, but he also went on to do a master’s degree and a doctorate!
Can you guess who this is?
The man himself, Shaquille O’Neal – or if you prefer it that way, Shaq.
“Shaq” the Giant and Legend
Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal is a giant in every sense of the word. The basketball player has had an illustrious career. He began at Orlando Magic in 1992 and ended his career playing for the Boston Celtics in 2011.
Along the way, he also played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Physically, he is a giant. At a listed height of 7 ft 1 in and a listed weight of 325 lb, he was a force to reckon with on the basketball court. During his long and illustrious career of 19 years, O’Neal won many accolades, including the highly coveted NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP, and the Finals MVP awards.
Apart from basketball, Mr. O’Neal has ventured into music (4 rap albums), films, TV, and business. After retiring from basketball in 2011, Shaq added a feather to his already teeming cup by becoming an on-screen NBA analyst.
But perhaps the most surprising move has been Shaquille O’Neal’s transition from “Shaq” to Dr. O’Neal. In the spring of 2012, the former NBA champion graduated with a doctorate from Barry University in Miami, Florida.
O’Neal jokingly told ABC News that only children were allowed to call him Shaq anymore; that the adults had to address him as Dr. O’Neal. At the time of his graduation, O’Neal had been one year into retirement.
He was then 40 years old, and his scholarly achievements busted two stereotypes at the same time. One, he proved that you are never too old to take your education seriously; and two, he pursued his education even though, as a basketball legend with multiple streams of income, people would imagine he had more money than he would ever need and didn’t, therefore, need to study.
Let me back up a little, and look at his education history before coming back to the doctorate itself.
Shaquille O’Neal was born in 1972 in Newark, New Jersey. He was raised by his mother Lucille O’Neal and stepfather Phillip A. Harrison who was a career army sergeant.
On graduating from Robert G. Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas, O’Neal went to Louisiana State University where he studied business. Meanwhile, he was playing basketball. AP and UPI named him college player of the year.
Though he left early to embark on his professional career in sports, O’Neal did not stop studying. In 2000, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies, fulfilling a promise he had made to his mother that he would complete his degree.
He jokingly told the crowd at the graduation ceremony that he could now “go and get a real job”.
But O’Neal’s passion for education did not stop there. He went on to study and get an online MBA through the University of Phoenix in 2005.
When his career in basketball was almost at an end, he began to study for an Ed.D in Human Resource Development at Barry University.
The topic of his doctoral capstone was “The Duality of Humor and Aggression in Leadership Styles”.
At the time, Shaquille O’Neal made it known that he was not yet done with his education journey. He planned to attend law school. Later he would joke that he wanted to have his name on a door alongside the names of law partners.
The story of Shaquille O’Neal is inspiring for all of us. It demonstrates that having an abundance of both money and professional success in our field should not stop us from seeking further education.
And as you have read, Shaq is not yet done with his pursuit of education. He plans to study law and be a lawyer. He is 45 years old.
This is Michael Jordan, a 26 years old guy. Besides my study and part time job, I'm passionate about playing basketball, cycling and exercising. BasketBallNinja.com is the place where I'm sharing my thoughts on the internet and I love the way here!Follow Our Guide and Be a NINJA Basketball Player with US!Keep following my blog Post and enjoy playing basketball like a pro!