From Michael Jordan to LeBron James, the NBA has produced a fair share of strong sports personalities.
One name that is often mentioned in the same breath as these basketball superstars is Shaquille O’Neal.
Although retired, Shaq, as he is popularly known, was not just any other basketball player.
Tall 7 feet and weighing 325 pounds, he is regarded as one of the most dominant players in NBA history, thanks to his big-built body.
After winning several championships and individual accolades in a career that lasted 19 years, Shaquille O’Neal retired in 2011 to concentrate on his career in showbiz.
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Shaquille’s Humble Beginnings
Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal was born in 1972 in New Jersey.
When he was still an infant, his biological father was imprisoned for drug possession, which eventually ended his relationship with Shaquille’s mother.
Nevertheless, Shaquille found a father figure when his mother got married to Phillip Harrison who was a military sergeant.
Although his mother is a Baptist Christian, his stepfather was a Muslim. His half-brother, Jamal and two half-sisters, Lateefah and Ayesha all bear Islamic names.
However, religion has never been an issue to O’Neal as he suggested in one of his famous quotes, “I am a Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist. I’m everybody because I’m a people person.”
O’Neal managed to stay off the streets by joining the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, where he would play and interact with his peers.
Furthermore, his stepfather was an army sergeant, which meant they had to move from their home to army bases in Texas and Germany.
Shaquille attended Robert G. Cole High School in Texas, where his performances on the court drew comparisons to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
He led his high school team to 68 victories in two years, eventually winning the state championship in his final senior year.
O’Neal proceeded to Louisiana State University where his basketball amateur career began in earnest.
During his time at LSU, he won several individual accolades, including two All American Player of the Year, two SEC Player of the Year, and an Adolph Rupp Trophy.
Following his dominant performances, several NBA scouts noticed him. His desire to play professionally was insanely unquenchable.
Shaquille finally dropped out of college to pursue a career in the NBA.
Shaquille O’Neal’s Career and Achievements
Shaquille O’Neal signed up for the Orlando Magic in the first overall pick of the 1992 NBA draft.
From the moment he stepped on the court, he established his presence by winning Player of the Week during his first week in the NBA.
He upped his game under the tutelage of Magic Johnson, eventually winning the 1992-93 Rookie of the Year Award following an impeccable first season in the NBA.
O’Neal was also featured in the top 10 of the stats table, earning a place as an All-Star starter for the first time since Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls.
Nevertheless, Orlando Magic missed the playoffs by a whisker following a tie-break with the Indiana Pacers.
His second season was much more successful after he allegedly influenced a change in the coaching staff.
Brian Hill, who was the assistant in the previous season, was promoted to the Head Coach role while Matty Guokas was transferred to the front office.
Following a change in tactics, O’Neal managed to register his first triple-double as Orlando Magic made it to the playoffs for the first time in their history.
After a series of injuries in subsequent seasons, O’Neal became a free agent. However, his biggest break came in 1996 when he signed a lucrative 7-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Critics accused him of choosing the Lakers because of the money, but O’Neal refuted these claims saying, “I’m tired of hearing about money. All I want is to play the game, drink Pepsi and wear Reebok.”
Success soon followed when O’Neal led the US Basketball Team to Olympic Gold in the Atlanta Olympics.
His first NBA championship remained elusive until 1999 when the L.A. Lakers appointed Phil Jackson as a head coach. The Lakers went on to win three consecutive NBA titles from 2000 to 2002.
O’Neal was named the MVP in each of the three championship-winning finals.
Despite Shaquille O’Neal’s achievements at the Lakers, he was traded to the Miami Heats after cracks started emerging between him and the management.
He promised to bring success to the team, and the Heats took only two years to win their first championship.
Although his performances were not dominant, Shaquille was happy with the win, stating, “Stats don’t matter. I care about winning, not stats.”
After the Miami Heats, Shaquille played for the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics before retiring in 2011.
He announced his retirement plans on Twitter, stating, “We did it, 19 years baby.”
Distinct Full Beard Style
In addition to his basketball prowess, O’Neal is a renowned rapper and actor.
His sharp taste of fashion along with his unique beard style has gone a long way to smoothen his transition into the world of showbiz.
This unique style has not only wowed his fans across various entertainment sectors but also won him thousands of admirers among black men beard styles enthusiasts.
Growing a Beard Like Shaquille
Styling and Maintenance Tips
If you are a newbie, you may want to learn how to trim your beard before making your first cut. Use the trimmer to cut your full beard to the desired size.
The beard scissors will come in handy when removing stray hairs. It is also important that you use a beard bib when trimming your facial hair to avoid making a mess.
Investing in a professional beard shaper will help you acquire the perfect O’Neal look.
Photos from: s_bukley / depositphotos.com and Jean_Nelson / depositphotos.com.