Shaquille O'Neal Biography
Shaquille O’Neal, later nicknamed “The Diesel” was born in Newark, NJ in 1972. Always a large individual, O’Neal grew massive during his high school years and led his team to a 68-1 record and win the title in his senior year. O’Neal also pulled down 791 rebounds in his senior year (an astounding number that shattered all records) and was considered a one in a kind phenomenon by the time he was recruited to attend LSU.
O’Neal had one of the most impressive individual careers in SEC and LSU basketball history. In three seasons, O’Neal was a two time All American, the 1991 NCAA men’s basketball player of the year. However, despite his herculean individual efforts, including 17 blocked shots in a 1990 game against Mississippi State, LSU lacked talent around O’Neal and the team’s inability to win anything of consequence pushed the star center to leave early for the NBA. Although this inevitably caused some rancor with LSU fans a la Nick Saban, O’Neal was eventually enshrined in the LSU Hall of Fame for his tremendous on-court achievements. Indeed, Shaq may be the best all time college basketball player.
|Thanks to wikipedia.org for this great picture of Shaquille O'Neal as a member of the Suns.|
Following his early collegiate departure, O’Neal was drafted first overall in the 1992 draft by the Orlando Magic. From 1992-1996, O’Neal and co-star Penny Hardaway led an exceptional Magic team that went to the playoffs for four straight years and lost to the Houston Rockets in the 1994 Finals. However, O’Neal ultimately became dissatisfied with the small-market Magic and this provoked his decision to join the Lakers as a free agent in 1996. Though the Lakers drafted future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant and were a perennial playoff team in the late 1990s, they did not climb the mountain to a title until they hired former Bulls coach Phil Jackson. Jackson’s hiring led to the Lakers first three peat of three titles from 2000-2002 with O’Neal as 2000 NBA MVP and Finals MVP in all three victories. The inside-outside tandem of Bryant and O’Neal looked poised to dominate the NBA for the entire decade.
Thanks to Keith Allison at flickr.com for the picture.
However, Bryant and O’Neal began to feud in 2003 and, after a debacle 4-1 loss to the Pistons in the 2004 Finals, the Lakers traded O’Neal to the Miami Heat. Nearing the end of his career, O’Neal managed to win one more championship with the Heat in 2006 before being traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2008 and the Cavaliers in 2009. After a dismal performance in the 2010 playoffs, the 39 year old future Hall of Famer is now a free agent.
Despite his often comic antics and ultimately destructive feud with Kobe Bryant, O’Neal will still be remembered as one of-if not the-most dominant paint presence in the history of the NBA. With fifteen All Star appearances, four NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVPs, one NBA MVP, and the 1991 NCAA Player of the Year Award, O’Neal’s legacy remains that of one of the greatest players in both NBA and SEC history.
This Shaquille O'Neal biography was written by SEC Sports Fan Senior Staff Writer Paul Grossinger.
Thanks to wikipedia.org for the picture.
Shaquille O'Neal has recently been named to All Time SEC Basketball Team. You can also read more about Best All-Time College Basketball Player.
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