Shaquille O'Neal gets a doctorate in education from a Florida university Saturday
He graduates with a 3.81 grade point average
"This is for my mother, who always stressed the importance of education," he says
Shaquille O’Neal has donned many monickers during his basketball career, including Shaq Fu, the Big Aristotle, Superman and Shaqtus. This weekend, he will add “Dr. O’Neal” to that list.
The former NBA player will graduate from Florida’s Barry University on Saturday with a doctorate degree in education focusing on organizational learning and leadership.
“This is for my mother, who always stressed the importance of education,” O’Neal said. “I am proud to have achieved a doctoral degree and wish to thank my professors and Barry University for helping make this dream a reality. I’m smart enough to know that, even at my tender age, my pursuit of education is never finished.”
The 7-foot-1 retired basketball star and NBA analyst is expected to be one of 1,100 students who will don graduation gowns at a ceremony in Miami, the school said.
“For the past four-and-half years, O’Neal pursued his doctoral degree in education while juggling the roles of athlete, student and entrepreneur,” Barry University said in a statement. “He completed the requirements of the doctoral program while adhering to the grueling NBA schedule prior to his retirement last year as well as fulfilling commitments in broadcasting and business.”
O’Neal graduates with a 3.81 grade point average and he completed 16 courses mostly using satellite classrooms and video conferencing, the university said.
In addition to the championships under his belt, O’Neal has a Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and an MBA he received in 2005.
He won three titles with the Los Angeles Lakers after forming a devastating partnership with Kobe Bryant, and added a fourth in 2006 with the Miami Heat.
With 28,596 points, O’Neal is fifth on the all-time NBA scoring list and is second only to Michael Jordan on the all-time list of NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards.
O’Neal retired last year after playing 19 NBA seasons.