Shaquille O'NealShaquille Rashaun O'Neal
(born March 6
) in Newark, New Jersey
is the one of the most dominant basketball players today. He led the Los Angeles Lakers
to three NBA
Finals victories in a row (2000
). He was selected as the Finals MVP for each of his victories. Among other centers in NBA history, he has the best scoring average in the Finals. Finals are the most important games of any kind, so a player who is able to score many points in important games like the Finals could help his team to victory. He was also voted as the 1999
-2000 Most Valuable Player for the regular season by the media. He was also voted four times for the All-NBA First Team selection(1997
-98, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02). He was Selected in 1996
as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He was only 24 years old at that time. He has been voted in and played in every All-Star game since the first year he had entered the NBA (1993
, 1996, 1997, 1998
, 2000, 2001, 2002). In 1999
, the only season O'Neal did not play in an all-star game, there wasn't any all-star game because of an NBA players lock-out.
O'Neal lived a good part of his childhood in Germany, where his father was stationed as a military officer. It was while there that he learned to play basketball.
As a young man, he attended LSU, where he first became known by many basketball fans around the globe. In 1992 he was chosen by the Orlando Magic, and he helped the team to 41 wins that year, missing the playoffs by one game. He further raised his fame that year with two backboard-shattering dunks, both on national TV: The first came against the Phoenix Suns on NBC and the other against the New Jersey Nets, on TNT.
In the 1993-94 season, Shaq helped the Magic to their first playoff berth ever, and he also debuted in Hollywood, and released a rap CD, named Shaq Diesel. The movie Blue Chips, alongside teammate Anfernee Hardaway and Nick Nolte, marked his Hollywood debut.
In 1994-1995, O'Neal and Hardaway helped their team reach the NBA Finals, but they were swept in four games by Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny The Jet Smith and the rest of the Houston Rockets.
After the 1995-1996 season, Shaq, asking for 120 million dollars over seven years, left Orlando to join the Los Angeles Lakers.