Shaquille O'Neal

Basketball Player

Born: 6 March 1972
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey
Best known as: 7'1" center for the Boston Celtics

Name at birth: Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal

At 7'1" and more than 300 pounds, Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most dominant centers in the history of pro basketball. He started his NBA career in Orlando, but in 1996 moved to Los Angeles for a $120 million contract and the chance to enhance his acting and rap music careers. With the help of guard Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson, O'Neal won the NBA championship three consecutive years with the Lakers, from 2000-2002. After eight seasons in Los Angeles, he was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004. With young guard Dwyane "Flash" Wade, O'Neal led the Heat to a national championship in 2006. After an injury-plagued and rocky 2007, O'Neal recovered and was traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2008. After a disappointing season for the Suns he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009, to play alongside LeBron James. He changed teams again in August of 2010, signing with the Boston Celtics. A multi-media celebrity, his rap albums have included Shaq Diesel (1993) and You Can't Stop the Reign (1998). In films he has played a rapping genie in Kazaam (1996) and a supersized crimefighter in Steel (1997). On television he debuted in his own "reality" show in 2007, helping children get physically fit in Shaq's Big Challenge.

Extra credit: Shaq's shoe size is 21 EEE... According to the NBA's official profile of O'Neal, "His first and middle names, Shaquille Rashaun, mean 'Little Warrior' in Islam"... He attended Louisiana State University, leaving after his junior year; he completed his degree in 2000... O'Neal is such a poor free-throw shooter that other teams sometimes foul him intentionally, a strategy known as "hack-a-Shaq."

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