If you weren’t already impressed by Shaquille O’Neal’s girth (7’1″, 325), or his NBA Championships (4), or him being an NBA All-Star (15 times), perhaps you’ll be impressed that Shaq now has a Doctorate Degree (not honorary, but earned!) from Barry University in Florida.
You see, Shaq was such a talent when playing basketball in college, he left early to go into the NBA. But he didn’t stop learning.
After leaving school early in 1992 to enter the NBA Draft, O’Neal went back to Louisiana State University eight years later and earned his bachelor’s degree in general studies, fulfilling a promise to his mother. In 2005, he earned a master’s of business administration through the University of Phoenix’s online degree program.
After leading the [Miami] Heat to the NBA title in 2006, O’Neal decided it was time to go back to school again and…decided to enroll at Barry in Miami Shores. He spent the past 4?1/2 years — including his final two seasons in the NBA — quietly working toward his doctoral degree in organizational learning and leadership with a specialization in human resource development. He studied before and after games, and between his work on television as an analyst, often staying up to the wee hours of the morning to get work done.
The big man didn’t just get by either. O’Neal achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.813 while completing 54 credit hours comprised of 16 courses and six credit hours of self-directed research. He did most of his course work via satellite, video conferencing and Blackboard.com. The title of his doctoral capstone project was “The Duality of Humor and Seriousness in Leadership Styles.”
Shaq is now, in my opinion, a great role-model. My respect for Dr. O’Neal is so much higher now.