Shaquille O’Neal Biography Facts, Childhood And Personal Life

Photo of Shaquille O'Neal Biography Facts, Childhood And Personal Life
Shaquille O'Neal playing for Phoenix Suns from 2008–2009. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Shaquille O’Neal popularly known by his nickname ‘Shaq’ is a retired American professional basketball player. Shaq wrapped up his 19-year career in the NBA in 2011 and took up a new gig as an on-air analyst for Turner Network Television (TNT)’s NBA broadcasts the same year. He is now a sports analyst on a television programme ‘Inside the NBA’. Our Shaquille O’Neal Biography Facts, Childhood And Personal Life brings to you a notable account from his early life to date. Highlights include his NBA/Basketball career, achievements, famous quotes plus other on-screen and off-screen facts about his life.

It is a known fact that Shaq is generally considered one of the greatest players in the history of NBA. Let’s dive right in!

Shaquille O’Neal Biography Facts

Full Name:Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal
Nickname:Shaq, Diesel, The Big Aristotle, Shaq Daddy, Warrior
Born:March 6‎, ‎1972‎ (age 46)
Place of Birth:Newark, New Jersey, United States of America
Height:7 feet, 1 inch
Shoe Size:22 (US)
Weight:325lb (147kg)
Education:Cole High School, Louisiana State University
Parents:Lucille O’Neal (Mother), Joe Toney (Father)
Siblings:Ayesha O’Neal (Sister), Jamal O’Neal (Brother), Lateefah O’Neal (Sister)
Spouse:Shaunie O’Neal (26 December 2002 – 2010) ( divorced) ( 4 children)
Children:Shareef Rashaun (Son), Shaqir Rashaun(Son),
Amirah Sanaa (Daughter), Me’arah Sanaa(Daughter)
Net Worth:$400 million
Occupation:Basketball Player
Playing Career:1992—2011
Zodiac Sign:Pisces

Shaquille O’Neal Childhood & Early Life

Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal was born on the 6th day of March 1972 in Newark, New Jersey, United States to his mother, Lucille O’Neal and father, Joe Toney, who is a former American basketball player.

Shaquille O'Neal Childhood Photo
Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Photo

When O’Neal was in infancy, his father, Toney, who was an addict convicted and sent to prison for drug possession. After serving time, he gave up his parental rights and responsibility to O’Neal’s stepfather, Philip Harrison who died in 2013. Subsequently, Tony made an appearance on the Ricki Lake show in trying to re-establish a relationship with his son whom he had not spoken with for decades. O’Neal who had zero interest in establishing a relationship in 1994 went on to record a song “Biological Didn’t Bother”, and dismissed his biological father with a punchline “Phil is my father.” Eventually, in March 2016, he met with his father saying “I don’t hate you. I had a good life. I had Phil.”

O’Neal graduated from Robert G. Cole High School in San Antonio Texas and went on to study business at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he earned the “College Player of the Year award in 1991. He dropped out of LSU in 1992 to pursue a career in NBA. However, when he became a professional basketball player, he continued his education and was later inducted into LSU Hall of fame.

Shaquille O’Neal Basketball Career

Orlando Magic

O'Neal playing with Orlando Magic (1992-1996)
O’Neal playing with Orlando Magic (1992-1996)

In 1992, O’Neal made the first overall pick by Orlando Magic during the 1992 NBA draft. He played from 1992–1996. Within the first week of his début, he was named ‘Player of the Week’, which made him the first player ever to be awarded the title within one week. He went on to make an average of 23.4 points on a 56.2% shooting with 13.9 rebounds including 3.5 blocks in a game during his first season of play. In 1993, his insane skills and overall performance ultimately earned him ‘NBA Rookie of the Year’ award.

United States Olympic Basketball Team

Shaquille O'Neal in the USA (Atlanta 1996)
Shaquille O’Neal in the USA (Atlanta 1996). A free agent playing for the United States Olympic basketball team

In 1996, He was selected to play for the United States Olympic basketball team, in the 1996 Olympics which held in Atlanta, Georgia. He played brilliantly leading his team to win Gold Medal.

Los Angeles Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal playing for Los Angeles Lakers (1996–2004)
Shaquille O’Neal playing for Los Angeles Lakers (1996–2004). In the picture is his teammate, Kobe Bryant. They were both named most difficult to defend.

In 1996, O’Neal was signed for $88.5 million in a three-year contract by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played for the Lakers from 1996–2004. O’Neal helped the team earn three consecutive championships in the year 2000, 2001, 2002 and appeared in the 2004 NBA Finals.

Miami Heat

Shaquille O'Neal as a Miami Heat Player (2004–2008)
Shaquille O’Neal as a Miami Heat Player (2004–2008)

Due to several disagreements with his teammate Kobe Bryant, in 2004, O’Neal was later traded to the Miami Heat and played from 2004–2008. In 2006, Shaq recorded his fourth NBA championship win with his team, Miami Heat. During his years in Miami Heat, Shaq was widely considered the best centre and player in the league and nearly lost the 2004–05 NBA MVP Award.

Phoenix Suns

Shaquille O'Neal Playing for the Phoenix Suns (2008–2009)
Shaquille O’Neal Playing for the Phoenix Suns (2008–2009)

In February 2008, the Phoenix Suns signed O’Neal from Miami Heat. The Phoenix Suns is the third MBA team Shaq played for. He played from 2008–2009. In his début game in the same month with his earlier team, Los Angeles Lakers, they lost the game. He soon took the blame for his team losing the game stating that he was not in tune with his teammates. However, he preferred playing for the Suns order than the Heat. In 2009, he emerged as co-MVP along his former teammate Kobe Bryant in the All-Star Game.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Shaquille O'Neal Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers (2009–2010)
Shaquille O’Neal Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers (2009–2010)

O’Neal left Phoenix Suns and joined Cleveland Cavaliers on the 25th of June, 2009. He played for Cavaliers in the 2009–2010 season. At this point, O’Neal’s career was at all-time lows and giving to the fact that he sustained injuries that made him take on lesser roles.

Boston Celtics

Shaquille O'Neal Playing for the Boston Celtics (2010–2011)
Shaquille O’Neal Playing for the Boston Celtics (2010–2011)

On August 4, 2010, the Boston Celtics Signed O’Neal for $2.8 million for just two years (2010–2011). This contract value was the lowest offer Shaq had ever received throughout his career. Interestingly, as a kid, Shaquille was never a fan of the Celtics. After playing for a period of nineteen years, he took to his Twitter handle to announce that he’s retiring with a video and a hashtag #ShaqRetires.

Aside Basketball, O’Neal has recorded successes in acting, television, music and gaming.

Shaquille O’Neal Music Career

Shaq’s music career started in 1992 when he began composing rap music. In 1993, he released his first album titled ‘Shaq Diesel’ which was recorded between 1992 to 1993. Some of the hit tracks from Shaq Diesel includes ‘Shoot Pass Slam’, ‘I’m Outstanding’, ‘Let Me In, Let Me In’. This album was a huge success.

Shaq Diesel - Album by Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq Diesel – Album by Shaquille O’Neal

The Shaq Diesel studio album reached #25 on the Billboard 200.

In 1994, his second album ‘Shaq Fu: D Return’ was released and reached #67 on the Billboard 200.

In 1996, his third album ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ was released and stood at #82 on the Billboard 200.

Shaq’s fourth album ‘Respect’ was released in 1998 and reached #58 on the Billboard 200.

Shaquille O’Neal Acting Career

Shaquille O’Neal kicked off his acting career with a basketball drama ‘Blue Chips’ which was released in 1994. He also starred in other movies like Steel – 1997, The Wash – 2001, The House Bunny – 2008, Grown Ups 2 – 2013, and Blended – 2014.

Shaquille O’Neal Personal Life

Shaquille with wife, Shaunie O'Neal, in Los Angeles (2007)
Shaquille with wife, Shaunie O’Neal, in Los Angeles (2007). They had four (4) children together. Those days were their happy times.

Shaquille married Shaunie O’Neal on 26 December 2002. Together, they have four (4) children: Shareef Rashaun (son), Shaqir Rashaun (son), Amirah Sanaa (daughter) and Me’arah Sanaa (daughter). He has a daughter (Taheara O’Neal) with his ex-girlfriend, Arnetta Yarbourgh before his marriage to Shaunie while Shaunie has a son (Myles) from a previous relationship.

In 2010, the couple divorced due to irreconcilable differences.

Shaquille pictured with his children in 2012
Proud father, Shaquille pictured with his children in September 2012.

Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal after their divorce both have joint custody over their children.

Shaquille O’Neal Achievements and Awards

  1. College Player of the Year (1991)
  2. Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year (1991)
  3. Adolph Rupp Trophy (1991)
  4. First-team All-American (1991, 1992)
  5. SEC Player of the Year (1991, 1992)
  6. NBA Rookie of the Year Award (1993)
  7. Outstanding Performance by a Sports Personality in an Attempt to Break into Show Business ESPY Award (1993)
  8. FIBA World Championship MVP (1994)
  9. USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1994)
  10. NBA Scoring Champion (1995, 2000)
  11. NBA Most Valuable Player Award (2000)
  12. Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (2000, 2001, 2002)
  13. Best NBA Player ESPY Award (2001, 2002)
  14. NBA All-Defensive Team (2000, 2001, 2003)
  15. BET Award for Sportsman of the Year (2005)
  16. All-NBA Team Honor (2004, 2005, 2006)
  17. All-NBA Third Team (1994, 1996, 1997, 2009)
  18. NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award (2000, 2004, 2009)
  19. Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Male Athlete (2000, 2007, 2011)
  20. Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Promotional Announcement – Institutional (2012)

Shaquille O’Neal Quotes

“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.”

— Shaquille O’Neal

“I’ve succeeded at every level, except high school and college.”

— Shaquille O’Neal

“We live in an impatient world. Everybody is always looking for the next big Kobe, the next big LeBron, the next big Twitter.”

— Shaquille O’Neal

“My father made me who I am. He gave me a basketball and told me to play with the ball, sleep with the ball, dream with the ball. Just don’t take it to school. I used it as a pillow, and it never gave me a stiff neck.”

— Shaquille O’Neal

“But, hey I did everything the right way and earned my spot in this game, nothing was given to me.”

— Shaquille O’Neal

“I never worry about the problem, I worry about the solution.”

— Shaquille O’Neal

“Everything happens for a reason. I’m used to it, I prepare for it. Like I say, at the end of the day, those in charge of their own destiny are going to do what’s right for them and their family.”

— Shaquille O’Neal

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