Former NBA superstar-turned-epistemophiliac Shaquille O’Neal has been on the down low about trying to obtain his doctorate and he has finally achieved his dream. On Saturday, Shaq received a Ph.D. in leadership and education with a specialization in human resource development from Barry University located in Miami Shores, Florida, reports ABC News.
Apparently, Shaq left Louisiana State University early in order to pursue a career in basketball. The 7’1″ hoop star, who is currently an analyst on the TV program “Inside the NBA,” was drafted by the Orlando Magic as the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. Despite his windfall, Shaq made a vow to his mother, Lucille Harrison, and stepfather, Dale Brown, that he would obtain his undergraduate degree, a promise he did fulfill all while playing ball professionally.
Shaq completed his degree by attending summer school during the basketball off-season as well as through an independent studies program. “The Big Aristotle” then went on to get a Master’s degree online in 2005 from the University of Phoenix and is the only current NBA player with an MBA (Master of Business Administration).
As the recipient of numerous accolades during his 19-year playing career, his latest educational accomplishment is one of his proudest moments but getting back into the swing of school wasn’t easy. Shaq told ABC News, “The hardest part was getting back into high school mode. You ever have that high school teacher that says, you’ve got to read six chapters over the weekend?”
Athletes and their diplomas are oftentimes seen as antidotes to statistics nationwide, indicating that players in men’s basketball and football graduate at rates significantly lower than the general student body. So Shaq’s latest accomplishment is undoubtedly quite a notch in his suspenders.
What exactly does Dr. O’Neal plan on doing with his educational credentials a year after his retirement from the NBA? Motivational speaking, of course! He also wants to go to law school.
So how does Shaq want to be addressed from now on? Well, he wants to make sure that no one gets it twisted! “Only the children can call me Shaq, the adults have to address me as Dr. O’Neal,” he said.
Does Dr. O’Neal miss his stellar NBA career? “No,” Shaq says, “because I got a new walk, a doctor’s walk.”