Shaquille O’Neal Biography: Facts, Early Life & Career
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Shaquille O’Neal is a name even non-basketball fans recognize. That is because of his outstanding career and life off the court. Shaq is a Hall-of-Fame center who spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He is easily considered one of the best big men of all-time for his ability to bully players around in the paint and dominate the boards.

The goal of this Shaquille O’Neal biography is to shed even a little light on the amazing career and life of Shaq.

Early Life

Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal was born on March 6, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey. His father, Joe Toney, struggled with drug addiction and was never an active part of his life. Joe was imprisoned when Shaq was an infant and ultimately released his rights to his stepfather, Phillip Arthur Harrison.

Shaq was a big kid from an early age, and his size caused him to stand out from his peers. He attended Robert G. Cole High School in San Antonio, where he excelled in basketball and earned a scholarship to play at Louisiana State University.

College Career

During his college career at Louisiana State University (LSU), Shaq quickly became a star player. He was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992 and was a consensus first-team All-American in both of those seasons.

Shaq helped lead the LSU Tigers to the NCAA tournament in each of his three seasons there, and he was the number one overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft.

Professional Career

The next step of our Shaquille O’Neal biography takes us to the NBA. Shaq spent 19 seasons in the NBA, won four championships, and played for six teams. He was drafted 1st overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic.

Orlando Magic – 1992-1996

Shaq quickly established himself as one of the league’s best young players. He was named 1992 NBA Rookie of the Year in his first season and helped lead the Magic to their first-ever playoff appearance in his second season.

In his third season, he led the NBA with 29.3 points per game. The Magic faced the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals but were swept in four straight games.

He spent much of the 95-96 season injured until free agency where he was picked up by the Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers – 1996-2004

In 1996, Shaq signed a seven-year, $121 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. He teamed up with a young Kobe Bryant, and the two became one of the most dominant duos in NBA history.

Shaq won three NBA championships with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, and 2002 and was named the NBA Finals MVP in each of those seasons. He was also named the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2000.

During his time in LA, Shaq accomplished a lot alongside Kobe including many broken backboards, MVPs, and single-season records.

Miami Heat – 2004-2008

After spending much time in LA, Shaq was traded to the Heat to team up with another young up-and-comer, Dwayne Wade. Alongside Wade, Shaq helped the Heat their first-ever ring in 2006.

Phoenix Suns – 2008-2009

Shaq spent just one season with the Phoenix Suns and his time there was marked by injuries and a lack of success on the court. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009.

Cleveland Cavaliers – 2009-2010

Shaq played one season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, teaming up with superstar LeBron James. The Cavaliers had a strong regular season but ultimately fell short in the playoffs.

Boston Celtics – 2010-2011

Shaq signed with the Celtics in 2010 with the hope of winning another ring to rival Tim Duncan but he played a limited role and retired in 2011.

Shaq Off The Court

Off the court, Shaq has lived an interesting life. He’s been active in many communities across the country by donating money, food, and other resources. He has invested in a number of companies and owns many businesses including car washes and restaurants.

He is currently an analyst for TNT’s “Inside the NBA” alongside players like Charles Barkley and Kenny “The Jet” Smith.

How many rings does Shaq have?

Shaq has four rings. He collected three rings with the Lakers and one with the Heat.

When did Shaq retire?

Shaq retired from the NBA in 2011 after a season with the Boston Celtics.

What teams did Shaq play for?

Shaq played for six teams. He played for the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, Cavaliers, and Celtics.

How big was Shaq when he was born?

According to, Shaq weighed 7 pounds and 13 ounces at birth.

When was Shaq born?

Shaquille O’Neal was born on March 6, 1972 in Newark, New Jersey.

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