Shaquille O’Neal Biography: Children, Spouse, Parents, Siblings, Awards, Net Worth, Filmography, Discography

May 19, 2024 0 Posted By Haruna Ayuba

Shaquille O’Neal, also popularly known as Shaq, is a retired professional basketball player and current sports analyst on Inside the NBA. He spent 19 years as a center in the NBA, playing for six different teams, which included the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics. 

Standing at a staggering 7’1″ (2.16 m) and weighing 325 lbs (147 kg), O’Neal is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players and centers of all time, ranking third all-time in field goal percentage at 58.2%.


  • Full Name: Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal
  • Nickname: Shaq
  • Date of Birth: March 6, 1972
  • Age: 52 years old
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of Birth: Newark, New Jersey, United States
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Retired professional basketball player, sports analyst, entrepreneur, actor, rapper
  • Height: 7 ft 1 in (216 cm)
  • Parents: Lucille O’Neal and Joe Toney
  • Siblings: Jamal O’Neal, Ayesha O’Neal, Lateefah O’Neal
  • Spouse: Married to Shaunie O’Neal (m. 2002; divorced 2011)
  • Children: Shareef O’Neal, Amirah O’Neal, Shaqir O’Neal, Me’arah O’Neal, and Taahirah O’Neal
  • Relationship Status: Single
  • Net Worth: $400 million

Early Life and Education

Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal, now 52, was born on March 6, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up, Shaq experienced a blend of cultures, his mother, Lucille O’Neal, worked as a real estate broker, and his biological father, Joe Toney, was not a consistent presence in his life. Shaq’s stepfather, Philip A. Harrison, played a pivotal role in his upbringing, providing guidance and support.

Toney faced challenges with substance abuse and was incarcerated for drug possession when O’Neal was a baby. After being released, he chose not to be a part of O’Neal’s life. Instead, he decided to give up his parental rights to O’Neal’s Jamaican stepfather, Phillip Arthur Harrison, a career Army sergeant.

Raised primarily in Newark and later in San Antonio, Texas, Shaq found solace and direction in basketball early on. His towering stature and athletic skills set him apart on the court, clearing the path ahead.

Due to his stepfather’s military career, the family relocated from Newark to various military bases in Germany and Texas. After returning from Germany, O’Neal’s family made their home in San Antonio, Texas.

At 16, O’Neal reached a height of 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) and started playing basketball at Robert G. Cole High School. He successfully led his team to a 68–1 record over two years and contributed to the team’s state championship win in his senior year.

Personal Life

O’Neal was brought up by a Baptist mother and a Muslim stepfather, who taught him both religions. Despite being identified as a Muslim by some sources, O’Neal has expressed that he embraces multiple faiths, stating, “I’m Muslim, I’m Jewish, I’m Buddhist, I’m everybody ’cause I’m a people person.”

In 2002, O’Neal married Shaunie Nelson, and they have four children together. However, the couple went through a divorce, which was finalized in 2011. O’Neal also has a daughter from a previous relationship.

O’Neal’s son, Shareef, gained attention for his basketball skills and played for UCLA before transferring to LSU. Regarding relationships, O’Neal dated reality TV star Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander before dating model Laticia Rolle.


The Orlando Magic selected O’Neal as the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft. Before relocating to Orlando, he trained in Los Angeles with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. O’Neal chose to wear number 32 since Terry Catledge wouldn’t give up the 33 jersey.

He made history by being named Player of the Week in his first week in the NBA. During his rookie season, O’Neal had impressive stats, averaging 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game, earning him the title of 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year. 

The Magic improved their record but missed the playoffs due to a tie-breaker with the Indiana Pacers. In the following season, O’Neal’s scoring average increased to 29.4 points, ranking second in the league, and he led the NBA in field goal percentage at 60%. The team made it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but O’Neal’s first playoff series ended in a sweep by the Pacers.

Before the 1999–2000 season, the Lakers brought in Phil Jackson as head coach, which led to a change in the team’s performance. Jackson immediately challenged O’Neal, suggesting that the NBA’s MVP trophy should be named after him when he retired.

In a game against the Houston Rockets on November 10, 1999, O’Neal and Charles Barkley were ejected after a physical altercation. On his 28th birthday, March 6, 2000, O’Neal scored a career-high 61 points, 23 rebounds, and three assists in a game against the LA Clippers. 

This was the last time in NBA history that a player scored 60 or more points without hitting a 3-pointer until Giannis Antetokounmpo achieved this on December 13, 2023.

O’Neal was voted the 1999–2000 regular season Most Valuable Player, falling just one vote short of becoming the first unanimous MVP in the NBA’s history. Fred Hickman of CNN instead chose Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers for MVP. O’Neal also won the scoring title and finished second in rebounds and third in blocked shots. 

Under Jackson’s influence, O’Neal showed a renewed commitment to defense and earned his first All-Defensive Team selection (second-team) in 2000. In the 2001 NBA Finals against the 76ers, O’Neal fouled out in Game 3 and expressed frustration over Dikembe Mutombo’s defensive tactics.

A month before the 2001–02 season’s training camp, O’Neal underwent corrective surgery for a claw toe deformity in his left foot’s smallest toe, opting for a quicker recovery process.


  • 4× NBA champion
  • 3× NBA Finals MVP
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (2000)
  • 15× NBA All-Star
  • NBA Rookie of the Year (1993)
  • 3× NBA All-Star Game MVP
  • 3× NBA scoring champion
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team
  • Olympic gold medalist (1996)

Net Worth

As per sources, Shaquille O’Neal’s net worth is approximately $400 million, making him one of the wealthiest former athletes in the world.


Shaquille O’Neal has been embroiled in multiple controversies:

Unfulfilled financial commitments

An ex-business partner of O’Neal filed a lawsuit against him and his production company, Jersey Legends Productions, claiming that O’Neal failed to meet agreed-upon payment obligations.

FTX legal dispute

O’Neal was served with legal papers related to the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which included a lawsuit filed by the Moskowitz firm.

The documents alleged that O’Neal had committed to actively participating in the NFT Metaverse and that the value of the NFTs would increase as a result. O’Neal’s legal team argued that the service was inadequate and requested the dismissal of the claims.

Rap lyrics about Kobe Bryant

O’Neal has incorporated references to Kobe Bryant in his rap lyrics, insinuating that Bryant accused him of paying off women. In response, Bryant said he didn’t take O’Neal’s rap seriously. A Lakers fan, Snoop Dogg defended O’Neal’s right to express himself lightheartedly.

Social Media

  • Instagram: @shaq
  • Twitter: @SHAQ


  • Blue Chips
  • Kazaam
  • Steel
  • The Wash
  • Scary Movie 4


  • Shaq Diesel
  • Shaq Fu: Da Return
  • You Can’t Stop the Reign


  • Shaq Uncut: My Story

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