Shaquille O’Neal | Wife, Kids & Net Worth

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Shaquille O’Neal is an American former professional basketball player who had a very successful NBA career starting in 1992. He currently works as a sports analyst on a tv program named Inside the NBA.

Often regarded as one of the greatest basketball players, Shaquille led his teams to the NBA playoffs every season except for a few ones. He is the winner of four NBA titles as well.

The American center had played college basketball for the LSU Tigers before he debuted in the professional league. While there, he made tremendous progress in his playing style and consequently made a way into the NBA as the top pick.

Shaquille O'Neal with the LSU Tigers (Source: Pinterest)
Shaquille O’Neal with the LSU Tigers (Source: Pinterest)

The player with a massive frame, O’Neal, was always an aggressive man while on the court and was hard to dominate. However, he was a different personality, always cracking funny jokes and having a friendly demeanor while off-court.

His remarks during the press conferences and tv interviews very well show how good he is as a person. In any case, people who have been following him from the start know he always speaks his heart out, sometimes a little rude.

Probably, because of his same qualities, Shaquille has never been away from tv screens and still entertaining his fans through tv shows, sketches, etc., even now.

We still have so much to discuss him in this article below. But first, let’s see some quick facts.

Quick Facts

Full Name Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal
Known As Shaquille O’Neal
Date of Birth March 6, 1972
Birth Place Newark, New Jersey, the USA
Nick Names Shaq, Superman, The Big Aristotle, etc.
Religion Islam
Nationality American
Ethnicity African-American
Zodiac Sign  Pisces
Age 50 years old
Height 2.16 m (7 feet 1 inch)
Weight 325 lb (147 kg)
Eye Color Black
Father’s Name Joe Toney
Mother’s Name Lucille O’Neal
Siblings Not available
  • Fulda American High School (Fulda, Germany)
  • Robert G. Cole High School (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Marital Status Divorced
Sexual Orientation Straight
Ex-Wife’s Name Shaunie Nelson
Kids Myles, Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, Me’arah, and Taahirah
Profession Former Basketball player
NBA Draft 1992 / Round: 1 / 1st pick overall
Position Center
League  National Basketball Association (NBA)
Active Years (1992 – 2011)
Net Worth $400 million
Currently Plays For None / Retired
Jersey Numbers 34, 32, 36, 33
Social Media  InstagramTwitter, Facebook
Merch Cookbook, Hardcover
Last Update February, 2023

Shaquille O’Neal | Early Life, Family & Education 

On March 6, 1972, Shaquille O’Neal was born in Newark, New Jersey, United States. He is the son of Joe Toney and Lucille O’Neil.

He took his mother’s surname as his father left him and his mother when he was an infant.

His biological father, Joe, was a drug addict and often got arrested for getting involved in illegal activities. So, Shaq did not see Joe for decades until he left playing basketball in the 2010s. 

Shaquille O'Neal with his mother (Source: EssentiallySports)
Shaquille O’Neal with his mother (Source: EssentiallySports)

Shaq spent his early years with his stepdad, Philip A. Harrison, and his mom. Philip was a Jamaican national and worked as an Army sergeant. He never made O’Neal feel that he was someone else’s son and raised him like his own.

Shaquille initially attended the local school in the Newark area. He was already 6’6″ at age 13. The streets at that time were dangerous, but he had found a new way to stay out of trouble.

Rather than engaging in unnecessary chores, he enjoyed playing basketball in his free time during study breaks. As he did not feel safe playing outside, he frequently visited the Newark branch of America’s Boys & Girls Clubs.


Besides Newark, Shaq spent considerable childhood time in Germany and Texas. After his family returned from Germany, they settled in San Antonio and attended the Robert G. Cole High School.

He later attended Louisiana State University for his higher education. But, he dropped out of college in his third year to pursue an NBA career. He later obtained a bachelor’s degree in Education from LSU.

However, now, Shaq holds a doctorate in Human Resources Management from Barry University in Miami.

Shaquille O’Neal | Basketball Career

College Career

After having a successful basketball career at Robert G. School, Shaq joined Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and played college basketball for the LSG Tigers.

At that time, he had already earned a widespread reputation as the one who could play hook shots similar to the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In addition, he already had a good relationship with LSU coach Dale Brown, so he felt confident with the Tigers.

He finished his freshman season with an average of 13.9 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. O’Neal had initially taken up a business major, but as his performances kept getting better, he decided to leave his studies for a while to pursue an NBA career.

He averaged over 20.0 points and 14.0 rebounds in his sophomore and junior seasons, for which he won many honors and awards, including a couple of the best college player of the year awards.

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Professional Career

The Orlando Magic chose Shaquille O’Neal first overall in the first round of the 1992 NBA draft. O’Neal had a perfect start, and he won the Player of the Week award in his first week in the NBA.

He averaged 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game in his rookie season. Consequently, he became the NBA Rookie of the Year and was also voted to the NBA All-Star Game.

Shaq played three more seasons with the Magic until he left them for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996. He had helped the Magic reach the playoffs consecutively for three years, but his time in the LA Lakers was unforgettable.

Shaquille O'Neal with the LA Lakers (Source: SPORTbible)
Shaquille O’Neal with the LA Lakers (Source: SPORTbible)

Although he suffered many injuries during his eight-year stay with the Lakers, he had numerous career-best performances. He led them to the championship ring victories three years apart from having high point-scoring and rebounding rates.

He later won one more NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. However, his last days with the Heat were hard for him as he got into an unfortunate feud with the head coach Pat Riley.

After the Heat released him, he played four more seasons with clubs, namely Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics. He eventually ended his 19-year-long playing career on June 1, 2011, through a social media post.

Apart from his club career, Shaq O’Neal has represented the American national team in numerous international tournaments.

Awards & Achievements

Some of his awards & achievements include:

  • NBA champion (2000-02, 2006)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (2000)
  • IBM Award (2000, 2001)
  • NBA All-Star (1993-98, 2000-07, 2009)
  • Jersey no. 34 was retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (2000, 2004, 2009)
  • SEC Player of The Year (1991, 1992)
  • NBA Finals MVP (2000-02)
  • NBA Anniversary Team (50th, 75th)
  • Adolph Rupp Trophy (1991)
  • Jersey no. 32 was retired by the Miami Heat
  • All-NBA First Team (1998, 2000-06)
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2000, 2001, 2003)
  • NCAA blocks leader (1992)
  • FIBA World Championship MVP (1994)
  • Jersey no. 33 was retired by LSU Tigers
  • Texas Mr. Basketball (1989)
  • USA Basketball Male Athlete of The Year (1994) 

Shaquille O’Neal | Beyond Basketball

O’Neal the Sheriff

Shaquille has always been clear about his particular interest in the police department of America. He even joined the LA Country Sheriff’s Reserve Academy in the early 2000s and started his work with the LA Port Police.

He later worked as the spokesperson for the Safe Surfin’ Foundation, which specializes in taking action against sexual predators on the Internet.

Similarly, he has also worked as a reserve officer in police departments in other states, such as Bedford County PD, Maricopa County PD, Clayton County PD, etc. He was also declared honorary US Deputy Marshall on March 2, 2005.

Shaq has also participated in some raids and law enforcement activities as a reserve officer. However, the Bedford County and Maricopa County police departments had taken action against him after they knew him rapping foul about Kobe Bryant in 2008.

Law enforcer Shaq himself was once accused of sneaking child pornography into his IT technician’s computer. The case dragged him to the court, too, but he came out clean in 2017. 

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Shaq the Entertainer

Apart from basketball, Shaq has kept himself busy engaging in various sectors within the entertainment industry. He is into music, acting, advertising, wrestling, and many more things that one can only imagine.

Although Shaq says that he has been a massive fan of the hip-hop genre from early on, he began composing and making rap songs in the early nineties. He released his first album, Shaq Diesel, in 1993.

Similarly, he has been featured in songs of other musical artists, including Michael Jackson’s 2 Bad. He believes that music is an essential part of his life.

Meanwhile, Shaquille frequently gets featured in films, documentaries, show sketches, etc., to this day. His debut film was the 1994 sports drama film Blue Chips, and since then, he has appeared in various similar projects.

In addition, he has worked as a voice artist in some animated films and series, including the 2013 film The Smurfs 2 and the 2014 film The Lego Movie.

Similarly, as a massive fan of professional wrestling, Shaq showed up in the wrestling tournaments on various occasions in the past. Although he did not fight in any matches, he participated in the 1994 World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Later on, he kept featuring in other wrestling competitions such as WWE, ImpactWrestling, etc. His first-ever wrestling match was in 2016, when he participated in the Royal Rumble in WrestleMania 32. 

Shaquille O’Neal | Net Worth

One of the highest-paid centers in the NBA in his time, Shaquille O’Neal has a net worth of around $400 million. He amassed a whopping sum of approximately $292 million from his overall NBA career.

Shaq has involved himself with famous companies such as Apple, General Electric, and PepsiCo since the 1990s. He has also partnered with a building company named Boraie Development which takes up projects mainly in New Jersey.

Similarly, he has invested in companies in various sectors, including Tout Industries, NRG Esports, Krispy Kreme, Loyale3 Holdings, etc. He was also a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings previously, but he sold shares recently in 2022.

As per the Basketball Noise reports in 2022, O’Neal has over 50 different businesses.

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Shaquille O’Neal | Personal Life

Shaq was previously married to Shaunie Nelson from Wichita Falls, Texas. He had met Shaunie in 1998, and after two years of dating, the lovers had engaged to each other in 2000.

Meanwhile, their first son, Shareef, was born on January 11, 2000, out of wedlock. They eventually tied their knot almost a year after the birth of their second child, Amirah, on November 13, 2001.

Shaquille O'Neal with his ex wife Shaunie (Source: HuffPost)
Shaquille O’Neal with his ex-wife, Shaunie (Source: HuffPost)

Shaunie gave birth to two other children with Shaq, namely Shaqir and Me’arah. Both Shaq and Nelson had one child, each from their previous relationships.

The couple eventually divorced in 2011 following a two-year-long legal battle that started after Shaunie filed for separation, citing irreconcilable differences on November 10, 2009. 

Both of them have not married since their separation. Shaunie is active in the media sector, mainly working as a reality show producer and tv presenter. In addition, she is a renowned philanthropist.

Meanwhile, Shaq was rumored to be dating a couple of women in the past after his divorce from Shaunie. 

Until recently, his eldest son, Shareef, played college basketball for the UCLA Bruins and LSU Tigers. However, he has not stepped into the professional league yet because of his health problems. 

Social Media

Instagram: @shaq

Twitter: @SHAQ

Facebook: Shaquille O’Neal

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Five Guys Restaurants does Shaq have?

Shaq has around 155 Five Guys Restaurants across America as of yet.

How much of Papa John’s shares does Shaq own?

According to the information he submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Shaq owns approximately 90,000 of Papa John’s shares. His Papa John’s stock in 2020 was worth around $6 million.



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