Shaquille O’Neal takes great pride in his educational background. He reveals his motivation to get a Ph.D in an interview with Graham Bensinger.
‘The Big Aristotle’, as Shaq is popularly known, may not seem like the brightest guy if you take him at face value. There undoubtedly exists a stereotype that athletes are ‘jocks’ per se and not ‘bright’ in the traditional sense.
Shaq’s goofiness contributes a bit to this as well. He’s, for instance, joked about the moon being closer to Atlanta than Los Angeles because he can ‘see the moon’.
Those people would be surprised to know that O’Neal has obtained a very extended line of education. The former LSU star went back to college during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers to finish his bachelors’ degree.
Shaq later went on to obtain a Doctorate in Education from Barry University in 2012. He’s spoken about not ‘letting his children off the hook’ in terms of building up a relevant academic background.
Shaquille O’Neal reveals how he was pissed off when people spoke to his agent instead of him
Shaq has repeatedly underlined how his burning desire to obtain higher education comes from his mother. He thanks his mother Lucile for constantly motivating him to finish his degree:
“I leave school, I get $40 million, I get $100 million, I get $80 million. But I’m getting calls once a week. ‘Yeah you’re doing movies, you’re doing albums, but you promised me you’d go back to school.’ I never like to let my mom down, so I went.”
“And then, you know, I left my junior year so I was only a few credits short. So I go back to school 2 hot summers in Baton Rouge. And I’m loving it but hating at the same time, but I’m like ‘Lets do it for mom’.”
“So I got my bachelor’s degree in 2000. But then I realized that when you go to a business meeting, they talked to me, then they talked to my guy. And I found that disrespectful, right? I’m making the final decision anyway, I understand.”
“You don’t think I understand the terms? I’ll be back – so I did my masters in business from the University of Phoenix just to let them know. That I understand what’s going on, that you can talk to me, and I’ll relay the information to my agent.”