Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal (born March 6, 1972), nicknamed Shaq ), is a retired American professional basketball player who is currently an analyst on the television program Inside the NBA. Listed at 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m) tall and weighing 325 pounds (147 kg), he was one of the heaviest players ever to play in the NBA. O’Neal played for six teams throughout his 19-year NBA career.
Following his career at Louisiana State University, O’Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft. He quickly became one of the best centers in the league, winning Rookie of the Year in 1992–93 and later leading his team to the 1995 NBA Finals. After four years with the Magic, O’Neal signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers. They won three consecutive championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Amid tension between O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, and his fourth NBA championship followed in 2006. Midway through the 2007–2008 season he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. After a season-and-a-half with the Suns, O’Neal was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2009–10 season. O’Neal played for the Boston Celtics in the 2010–11 season before retiring.
O’Neal’s individual accolades include the 1999–2000 MVP award, the 1992–93 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 15 All-Star game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 14 All-NBA team selections, and three NBA All-Defensive Team selections. He is one of only three players to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and Finals MVP awards in the same year (2000); the other players are Willis Reed in 1970 and Michael Jordan in 1996 and 1998. He ranks 6th all-time in points scored, 5th in field goals, 13th in rebounds, and 7th in blocks. Largely due to his ability to dunk the basketball, O’Neal also ranks 3rd all-time in field goal percentage (58.2%).
O’Neal’s “drop step”, (called the “Black Tornado” by O’Neal) in which he posted up a defender, turned around and, using his elbows for leverage, powered past him for a very high-percentage slam dunk, proved an effective offensive weapon. In addition, O’Neal frequently used a right-handed jump hook shot to score near the basket. The ability to dunk contributed to his career field goal accuracy of .582, second only to Artis Gilmore as the highest field goal percentage of all time. He led the NBA in field goal percentage 10 times, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record of nine.
O’Neal only made one three point shot during his entire career. He made the shot during the 1995–96 NBA season with the Orlando Magic. His career three point shot record is 1 for 22 (a 4.5% career percentage).
On his own half of the hardwood, O’Neal was a capable defender, named three times to the All-NBA Second Defensive Team. His presence intimidated opposing players shooting near the basket, and he averaged 2.3 blocked shots per game over the course of his career.
Phil Jackson believed O’Neal underachieved in his career, saying he “could and should have been the MVP player for 10 consecutive seasons.” The Lakers retired his No. 34 jersey on April 2, 2013.
On January 31, 2012, O’Neal was honored as one of the 35 Greatest McDonald’s All-Americans.
In September 2013, O’Neal became a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings.
In June 2015, O’Neal invested in technology startup Loyale3 Holdings Inc, a San Francisco brokerage firm whose website and mobile app make which enables companies to sell a piece of their IPOs directly to small investors who put up as a little as $100 and also allows investors to regularly buy small amounts of shares in already public companies.
Career highlights and awards
4× NBA champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006)
3× NBA Finals MVP (2000–2002)
NBA Most Valuable Player (2000)
15× NBA All-Star (1993–1998, 2000–2007, 2009)
3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2000, 2004, 2009)
8× All-NBA First Team (1998, 2000–2006)
2× All-NBA Second Team (1995, 1999)
4× All-NBA Third Team (1994, 1996, 1997, 2009)
3× All-Defensive Second Team (2000, 2001, 2003)
NBA Rookie of the Year (1993)
2× NBA scoring champion (1995, 2000)
NBA 50th Anniversary Team
No. 34 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
FIBA World Championship MVP (1994)
USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1994)
College national player of the year (1992)
2× Consensus first-team All-American (1991, 1992)
2× SEC Player of the Year (1991, 1992)
McDonald’s All-American MVP (1989)