Inspire Me – Shaq

Eye of the Beholder - Inspire Me - Shaquille O'Neal
7 ft 1, size 22 shoe, ring size 17

Regarded as one of the greatest basketball players and centers of all time, Shaq has attained notoriety off the court, inspiring many.

One of the most recognized names in the world of sports, Shaq, continues to make headlines over ten years after his NBA retirement. I was recently inspired to profile this giant of a man on Eye of the Beholder after watching an episode of the CBS TV series, Secret Celebrity Renovation.

Eye of the Beholder - Inspire Me - Shaquille O'Neal
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully,
everyone is blessed. Maya Angelou

I was already aware of Shaq’s kindness because of his philanthropy with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Watching his eyes light up with the joy of giving when he honored his Uncle Roy with a home renovation and a new car exposed a tender heart every bit as big as the man’s physical stature.

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It’s evident that Uncle Roy has been a powerful and positive influence on Shaq, from his humble beginnings in Newark to the man he is today. With Shaq’s celebrity status, incredible wealth, and broad business reach, Uncle Roy never expected anything from his nephew. This selfless character trait has had a lasting impact on Shaq.

Shaquille O’Neal had a basketball career for the record books. Some highlights include …

Eye of the Beholder - Inspire Me - Shaquille O'Neal
Shaq 2000. A historic season.
  • College Player of the Year (1991)
  • First team All-American (1991, 1992)
  • Joined the NBA in 1992 before finishing college
  • Player of the Week in his first week in the league
  • Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, blocks and shooting percentage in his rookie season
  • Signed the biggest contract in NBA history (1996)
  • Won Olympic gold at the 1996 games in Atlanta
  • Named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (2000)
  • Four NBA championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006)
  • NBA Hall of Fame (2016)
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After 19 seasons and 6 teams, Shaq retired in 2011, but basketball was never his only talent. As early as 1993 he was creating music and was established as a gold-certified rap artist with the 1994 release, Shaq-Fu Da Return. Shaq has also appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, most notably as Kazaam in 1996, and as a broadcaster on TNT’s, Inside the NBA. He’s even been a member of law enforcement, serving as a Sheriff’s deputy.

One of Shaq’s most inspirational acts was the decision to prioritize his education. He returned to college 8 years after leaving to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Eye of the Beholder - Inspire Me - Shaquille O'Neal
Intelligence plus character. That is the goal of true education. Martin Luther King Jr.

I promised my parents I’d do it, I promised myself I’d do it.“, Shaquille O’Neal

It puts a stamp on me as an educated man.“, Shaquille O’Neal

This is a guy who could buy a degree, it’s not like he’s going to be looking for a job, but it shows kids that there is more to life than fame and fortune.“, Mike Mallet, Academic Advisor

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Shaq didn’t stop there. He went on to acquire an MBA in 2005 and then earned a Doctorate Degree in Education in 2012. Armed with this trifecta of credentials (Bachelor, MBA, Doctorate), it’s clear that this is a man of high intellect with ambition that extends far beyond the court. Evidence supporting this assertion has mounted over the years as Shaq has built an impressive business portfolio in the restaurant and sports industries, growing his net worth to around $400 million.

Eye of the Beholder - Inspire Me - Shaquille O'Neal
The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation. Instilling hope, bringing about change.

The more I read and learn about this guy, the more inspired I am. Wealth and fame has not corrupted his core values.

Not resting on his laurels, his contribution to the world of business along with his ongoing charitable work, projects a positive example for thousands.

He maintains a humble attitude through it all, resisting the celebrity mindset of self-importance. It’s apparent to me that Shaq is content with just being Shaq and hopes to make a positive impact on those he can.

Titus 2:6-8

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Steve Coryell