You can now call him Dr. O’Neal.
NBA icon and four-time champion Shaquille O’Neal received his doctoral degree in Education from Barry University Saturday morning along with another 1,100 students. Expressing his enthusiasm in his own playful way, the 7-foot-1 inch O’Neal lifted his professor into the air.
This educational journey has been a long one for him. O’Neal left Louisiana State University early for the NBA, but he went back to school and earned his bachelor’s degree. He then earned his master’s degree and, now, a doctorate in education (specifically, organizational learning and leadership).
Donning a bright red, XXXL-sized robe, the 325-pound retired center got on one knee on stage so Dr. David M. Kopp could place a light blue hood around his neck. Afterward, O'Neal celebrated by standing and lifting up Kopp briefly.
“I promised my parents I would [follow my passion for education],” O’Neal said. “Two, I wanted to continue my education and three, I wanted to challenge myself.”
“I’m proud to call you Dr. O’Neal!” said his mother.
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(Photo: Peter Andrew Bosch/Miami Herald/MCT/LANDOV)