Not only has O’Neal proved his athletic prowess on the basketball court, he also recently earned a doctorate in education.
A promise O’Neal made to his mother Lucille a decade ago came to fruition when he graduated with a doctorate from Barry University in Miami, Florida.
O’Neal told his mother that he would pursue his education after he realised his dream of playing in the NBA. During his basketball career, which spanned 19 court seasons, he first attained a Bachelor’s degree in general studies, went on to a Master’s degree via an online programme and finally a doctorate with emphasis on organisational learning and leadership and human resources.
Abcnews.go.com quoted O’Neal as saying that making his parents proud was what spurred him on.
“One, I promised my parents I would follow my passion for education. Two, I wanted to continue my education and three, I wanted to challenge myself. 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?” he joked.
In addition, O’Neal reportedly flew in his professors to meet with him and spent many a sleepless night writing his thesis, based on humour and leadership.
“I’m proud because I know he earned that title. With all the money he’s got, he could have paid for an honorary degree. But he didn’t. And now I get to call him Dr O’Neal,” Lucille O’Neal says.
O’Neal enjoyed an illustrious career in basketball, having been a four-time NBA champion. He also made history by signing a $120 million (R960 million) contract with the LA Lakers in 1996 and he was instrumental in leading the USA basketball team to Olympic gold in in the same year.
O’Neal has also appeared in several movies and can add a rap career to his impressive list of accomplishments.
Sources: abcnews.go.com, www.biography.com