Star basketball center Shaquille O誰eal helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight National Basketball Association (NBA) championships from 2000 through 2002.
Shaquille O誰eal, born in 1972, American basketball player, considered one of the greatest players in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. A dominating post player (center), the 7-ft, 1-in O誰eal led the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Shaq, as he is often called, was born in Newark, New Jersey. He attended high school in San Antonio, Texas, where he led the school team to the state championship. O誰eal then entered Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1989. He quickly became a dominating player in college basketball, and he averaged 21.6 points and 13.5 rebounds per game over three seasons. In his last year at LSU he led the nation in blocked shots and was second in rebounding.
In 1992 O誰eal entered the NBA draft and was the first player chosen. He was selected by the Orlando Magic, then a recent expansion team. Although his inexperience was evident in his first professional year, O誰eal痴 high level of play made him a nearly unanimous choice as rookie of the year for the 1992-93 season. That year he led the league痴 rookies in points (23.4), rebounds (13.9), and blocked shots (3.53) per game, and he was second overall in rebounds and eighth overall in scoring. During the 1993-94 season O誰eal痴 play continued to improve. He led the NBA in field-goal percentage (.599) and finished second in points (29.3) and rebounds (13.2) per game. In 1994 he was also a member of the United States national basketball team known as Dream Team II, which won the gold medal at the world basketball championships in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In the 1994-95 season O誰eal led the Magic to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Houston Rockets. O誰eal痴 success continued the following year, when he was selected as an All-Star for the fourth consecutive season. After the NBA season he won a gold medal as part of the U.S. national basketball team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In July 1996 O'Neal signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Lakers. In 1999-2000 he averaged nearly 30 points and 14 rebounds a game and won the NBA most valuable player (MVP) award. He was also named MVP of league finals as he led the Lakers to the NBA championship. Los Angeles repeated as champions in 2001 and 2002, and O'Neal was named MVP of the championship series both years.
In 2003-04 O誰eal痴 scoring average (21.5 points per game) fell below 26 points for the first time since his rookie year. He also feuded publicly during the season with fellow Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Although Los Angeles reached the NBA Finals, the team was soundly beaten by the Detroit Pistons in five games. After the season the Lakers traded O誰eal to the Miami Heat.
O誰eal has also forged a parallel career as a popular music and movie star. In 1993 he released Shaq Diesel, a bestselling rap album. The following year O誰eal acted in the motion picture Blue Chips. That same year he issued a second rap album, Shaq Fu優a Return, along with a related video game in which he stars as a kung fu warrior. Other entertainment projects by O誰eal include the album Respect (1998) and the movies Kazaam (1996), He Got Game (1998), and The Wash (2001).
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