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Shaquille O’Neal

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Early Life

Athlete, actor and musician Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal was born on March 6, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey. After graduating from Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas, he enrolled at Louisiana State University, and would go on to become one of the most dominant players in the NBA.During his years at Louisiana State, Shaquille O’Neal standing 7 feet tall and weighing 315 pounds—was named “College Player of the Year” 1991 and twice named a unanimous first team All-American 1991, 1992 . He dropped out of college in 1992, after his junior year, to pursue a career in the NBA.

Professional Basketball

In his rookie season with the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal, also known as “Shaq,” finished in the Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, blocks and shooting percentage. A notoriously bad free-throw shooter, Shaq focused on trying to get more of his points on the power slam, and hearty NBA centers quickly learned to try to foul Shaq rather than give him an easy shot. Shaq became the first player in NBA history to be named “Player of the Week” in his first week in the league.

In 1996, Shaq signed the biggest contract in NBA history, seven years for $120 million with the Los Angeles Lakers. That same year, he helped the United States’ Dream Team win gold at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

By the end of the decade, Shaq was a three-time member of the All-NBA Third Team 1994, 1996 and 1997 and a two time member of the All-NBA Second Team 1995 and 1999, and had earned a place on the All-NBA First Team (1998). (After debuting with the league’s First Team in ’98, he would be selected to the First Team seven more times—every year from 2000 to 2006. In 2000, Shaq was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.

Prior to the 2000-01 season, the Lakers signed Shaq to a three year, $88.5 million contract extension, and the larger-than-life center helped deliver three consecutive world championships to the team 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 2004, however, following growing dismay with team management and friction with teammate Kobe Bryant, Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat.

During the 2004-05 season, Shaq averaged a double-double 22.9 points per game and 10.4 rebounds , and in 2006, he helped the Heat capture the NBA championship the fourth championship win of his career. Shaq also led the league in field goal percentage in both 2005 and 2006, and during the 2006-07 season, he reached a career milestone: scoring his 25,000th point. Following the 2007 2008 season his fourth season with the Heat Shaq was traded to the Phoenix Suns. He would only play for one season with the Suns, but that didn’t stop him from earning acclaim: Highlights from 2008-09 include leading the league with a .609 FG percentage, and being named the NBA All-Star Game’s co-MVP in 2009.

Shaq then traveled to Midwest, joining the Cleveland Cavaliers via a trade deal that cost the team $500,000 and two players. His 2009 2010 highlights include helping the Cavs earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, where he averaged 11.5 PPG, and establishing a seaon average of 12 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. It was also during this season that Shaq became the oldest NBA player in the sport’s history.

After only one season with the Cavs, Shaq became a free agent and, in August 2010, signed with the Boston Celtics. Unfortunately, an achilles injury proved to be an incredible detriment to the player and team in 2010-2011 In addition to missing 27 season games, Shaq sat out the first round of 2011 playoffs and played just two games of second round.


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Shaquille O’Neal