Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts

Shaquille O'Neal Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts

Childhood Biography presents the full Story of an NBA Legend, who is best known by the nickname “Shaq“.

Our article gives you full coverage of Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Story, Biography, Family Facts, Parents and Early Life.

More so, Shaq’s Lifestyle, Personal Life and other notable events right from when he was a child to when he became popular.

Shaquille O'Neal Biography - From his Childhood Days to the moment of Fame.
Shaquille O’Neal Biography – From his Childhood Days to the moment of Fame.

Yes, everyone knows he is one of the greatest players to have played in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

However, only a few consider Shaquille O’Neal’s biography, which is quite interesting. Now, without further ado, let’s begin.

Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Story:

One of the Earliest of Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Photos.
One of the Earliest of Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Photos.

For Biography starters, Former American basketball player Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal was born on the 6th day of March 1972 to his parents; his mother Lucille O’Neal, and his father, Joseph Toney, in Newark, New Jersey.

Shaquille O’Neal’s parents had him as their only child. Here is his beautiful mother, Lucille.


Shaquille O’Neal Family Origin and Background:

The American national whose ancestry is focused on his maternal family origin hails from a middle-class family background. Nonetheless, his black skin echoes the fact that Shaquille O’Neal’s family belongs to the African-American ethnicity.

Shaquille O’Neal Early Life:

Growing up as a little boy, O’Neal experienced an unusual ordeal. Did you know?… One of  Shaquille O’Neal’s parents- notably his dad whom he was supposed to look up to suffer from drug addiction.

As a result of drug addiction, O’Neal’s dad cared less about his little boy and ended up behind bars- a sad moment for the O’Neal family.

Upon his release from prison, Toney did not bother to take up his fatherhood responsibilities in the life of his son.

This led him to relinquish his parental right to O’Neal’s stepfather, Philip A. Harrison, a sergeant in the Army. The entire incident left a mark on poor O’Neal who was left estranged from his biological dad over the years.

Did you know?… O’Neal’s childhood was not completely compromised by his father’s arrest, thanks to the Boys and Girls Club of America.

He credits the boys and girls club of America in Newark for keeping him off the street by giving him a place to play. Most importantly, making him happy.

Shaquille O’Neal childhood was less solitary, thanks to the Boys and Girls Club of America.
Shaquille O’Neal childhood was less solitary, thanks to the Boys and Girls Club of America.

Shaquille O’Neal’s Education & Career Buildup:

Living with his stepfather, O’Neal had to move to a military base located in Germany and later moved to live in Texas. While living in Texas, Shaquille O’Neal’s parents (mum and step-dad) had him enrolled to study at Robert C.

Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas. Prompted by his ardent interest in basketball, O’Neal joined his school’s basketball team.

Shaquille O’Neal’s Education- He graduated from Robert C. Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas.
Shaquille O’Neal’s Education- He graduated from Robert C. Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas.

While in school, his performance in basketball ushered him into exceptional recognition, earning him the privilege of leading his team into a 68-1 record for two years.

When Shaquille O’Neal’s parents took him to high school, the young lad also excelled. Did you know?… O’Neal also made a grand achievement during his senior High School days by leading his team into winning the state championship.

To date, his record remains imprinted in the record of legends as he sets a record of 791 rebounds in the 1989 session. Behold a photo of Shaquille O’Neal while he was in high school.

His performance will never be forgotten in the History of Cole High School basketball team.
His performance will never be forgotten in the History of Cole High School basketball team.

Shaquille O’Neal Biography – Early Years with Basketball:

It is often said that, if you chase excellence, success will pursue you. This philosophy became the bedrock for O’Neal’s early career life. His success in the game of basketball upon graduation from High school was somewhat unparalleled.

At the time Shaquille O’Neal’s parents okayed his enrollment into Louisiana State University, the young lad had already sealed a deal with the University’s basketball team which is nicknamed “Browns“.

O’Neal played college basketball at Louisiana State University.
O’Neal played college basketball at Louisiana State University.

Early Career Achievements: While playing for Browns at LSU in the year 1991, O’Neal won the Adolph Rupp Trophy as NCAA men’s basketball player of the year. He also received lots of recognition including the college player of the year during his early career at Brown.

Shaquille O’Neal Biography – Road to Fame Story:

History will never forget to mention O’Neal’s professionalism and consistency in basketball as he was soon inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame after he left the team in pursuit of his professional career in the NBA.

O’Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft. Even though his exceptionalism earned him the 1st overall pick, he felt he still needed to prove himself in order to seal his spot in his new team.

Truth is, the huge expectation of many fans was ignited by his presence.


O’Neal’s Career Hurdles:

At that time, O’Neal had to make use of the jersey number 32 in his new club owing to the fact that Terry Catledge refused to relinquish the jersey number 33 to him.

Did you know?… O’Neal was injured in the 1995-96 season, a development which deprived him of playing 28 games in that season.

The former basketball star has suffered a great deal of injury on his journey to fame.
The former basketball star has suffered a great deal of injury on his journey to fame.

Perhaps, it would also interest you to know that the former basketball prodigy also suffered from several other injuries since the commencement of his professional basketball career.

Shaquille O’Neal Bio – Success Story:

O’Neal’s rise to fame can be likened to the velocity of a space rocket as he made an astonishing performance in his first week of appearance in the NBA, a feat that earned him the player of the week.

After four years of playing for the Orlando Magic, O’Neal became a free agent and soon signed a seven-year, $121 million contract with Los Angeles Lakers in the year 1996. There he met and formed a formidable partnership with late Kobe Bryant.

Fast forward to the time of writing this bio, O’Neal is revered as one of the greatest basketball prodigies in the NBA. His numerous awards are evidence of his astonishing performance in the game of basketball.


Did you know?… O’Neal was the first rookie to be voted an All-Star starter since Michael Jordan in the year 1985.

His unmatched basketball skills have seen him performed excellently in different teams from his rookie days till the day of his retirement in 2011. The rest, as they say, is history.

Shaquille O’Neal Relationship History:

The relationship life of O’Neal is quite intriguing as he has been involved in numerous romantic relationships with not less than eight ladies.

Who are Shaquille O’Neal’s Ex-Girlfriends:

Back then, as the veteran basketball prodigy puts on an outstanding performance on the pitch, he consequently ensures he also maintained a balanced social life.

Did you know?… According to WhoDatesWho website, Shaquille O’Neal has dated; Arnetta Yardbourgh (1995-1996), Karrine Steffans (2004-2005), Dominica Westling (2007-2010), Nicole Alexander (2010-2013), Laticia Rolle (2014), Annie Llonzeh (2019).


About Shaquille O’Neal’s Wife?:

Amidst his numerous relationships, O’Neal took a bold step of tying the knot with his ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal.

Shaquille O’Neal’s Ex-Wife- Meet Shaunie O’Neal.
Shaquille O’Neal’s Ex-Wife- Meet Shaunie O’Neal.

He had dated Shaunie for four years since 1998 before their marriage which was held on the 26th day of December 2002.

After enjoying seven years of marriage, O’Neal and his ex-wife underwent a divorce for reasons best known to them on the 9th day of November 2010.

Shaquille O’Neal Family Facts:

O’Neal’s family life during his childhood was filled with disappointments as his biological dad did not give him the attention he needed.

However, his step-father stepped in to fulfill the filial responsibility he so desired thereby giving him the normal experience of family life. In this section, we’ll give you further information about Shaquille O’Neal’s family life.

About Shaquille O’Neal’s Mother:

Lucille O’Neal is Shaquille O’Neal’s mom. She became a teenage mother when O’Neal was born in 1972.

Did you know?… Lucille endured poverty, rejection, abuse, addiction, and the illness of her child yet, she never gave up on herself nor did she give up on her son.

Some years later, she got married to Phillip after leaving Joseph and had more children. She supported her children throughout their academic life and went back to study after a few decades.

Having a sense of indebtedness to the Boys and Girls Club far back in Newark, Lucille and her son have vowed to continue supporting the Club in gratitude for the solace they had enjoyed from the Club at his tender age.

About Shaquille O’Neal’s Father:

Joseph Toney is Shaquille O’Neal’s biological dad. Did you know?… He was arrested for drug possession when O’Neal was still young. His failure to take up his paternal responsibility in O’Neal’s life created a rift between them.

In one of O’Neal’s 1994 rap albums, O’Neal expressed his feeling of anger and disdain for his dad who didn’t even care to know how he was doing after his release from prison.

Although O’Neal has not established consistent communication with his biological father since his rise to fame. Thankfully, he has disclosed to his father in 2016 that he does not hate him.

Shaquille O’Neal’s Step-father:

Phillip A Harrison (nicknamed Phil) is Shaquille O’Neal’s step-Father. He took up the paternal responsibility from O’Neal’s dad and ensure that O’Neal gets the paternal treatment he deserves.


Phillip who was an Army sergeant will never be forgotten by the veteran basketball star. When talking to his biological dad, O’Neal applauded Phillip for the good life he enjoyed. He said;

“I don’t hate you. Truth is, I had a good life. I had Phil.”

Shaquille O’Neal’s Siblings:

O’Neal has two sisters as well as a brother. O’Neal usually gets along with his three younger siblings and on most occasions, he hangs out with them and even taught them how to swim.

He lost one of his sisters, Ayesha Harrison Jex, to the cold hands of death after she battling cancer. He still supports his two remaining siblings; Jamal and Lateefah O’Neal.


About Shaquille O’Neal’s Children:

Shaquille O’Neal’s family life can’t be written without mentioning his kids. His relationship with Arnetta Yardbourgh gave rise to the birth of his first child Taahirah on the 18th day of July 1996.

Prior to their marriage in 2002, O’Neal and Shaunie’s intimate relationship birthed two children namely; Shareef Rashaun and Amirah Sanaa.

Not long after their wedding, the lovebirds still went on to procreate thereby birthing Shaquir Rashaun and Me’arah Sanaa.


About Shaquille O’Neal’s Relatives:

Lastly, on Shaquille O’Neal’s family life, we tell you more about his relatives. Shaquille O’Neal’s maternal grandmother was Odessa Perry Chambers, the daughter of Johnnie Perry and Willie S. Ucier.

Also, his maternal grandfather was Sirlester O’Neal, the son of Hilton O’Neal and Scillar Wright. Not much information is known about other of Shaquille O’Neal’s family members notably his paternal grandparents as well as his uncles, aunts, nephews, and nieces.

Shaquille O’Neal Personal Life:

What makes Shaquille O’Neal tick?… Sit back as we give you information about the personal life of the Veteran basketball prodigy. To begin with, O’Neal’s persona is a blend of Pieces’s zodiac traits.

Shaquille O’Neal has exhibited the characteristics that are in line with his zodiac traits. He is a born leader, with extraordinary drive and determination. He has a strong-willed emotional capacity and empathy for people. O’Neal’s interests and hobbies are riding motorcycles and target shooting.


Did you know?… Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James took Yoga classes. Yes! You heard that right. It’s quite unthinkable as to how a 7 feet, 1 inch tall O’Neal weighing 325 pounds would have delved into taking Yoga class.

O’Neal took his first class at Cleveland Yoga in Beachwood with the owner Tami Schneider who commended his efforts. Contrary to Tami’s view, O’Neal remarked that:

“I’m the worst yoga student in the history of yoga”

Shaquille O’Neal Lifestyle:

Shaquille O’Neal has an estimated net worth of $400 million at the time of writing. The source of his wealth stems majorly from his basketball endeavors and endorsement deals with brands like Aventis’ Icy Hot pain-relief patch, VitaminWater, Burger King, Pepsi, and Taco Bell.

Analysis of his spending pattern shows that he lives a luxurious life that is quite befitting of his standard.

Shaquille O’Neal’s assets: The retired basketball star has earned for himself quite a fortune. He owns numerous million-dollar real estate scattered around the US and in 2019, he puts up one of his luxurious mansions in Florida for sale for a whopping sum of $28 million.


O’Neal also owns a collection of luxurious cars namely; Ferrari 355 Spider, Rolls Royce Phantom, Buick Lacrosse, Stretched Lamborghini Gallardo, Convertible Dodge Challenger, Ford Bronco II, Customized 2001 Chevrolet G1500, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Customized Sprinter Mercedes van, and Mercedes Smart Car.


Shaquille O’Neal Facts (Untold):

To wrap up our Shaquille O’Neal’s biography, here are some lesser-known facts that will help you grasp a complete picture of him.

What is Shaquille O’Neal’s Religion?:

Shaquille O’Neal is a Muslim, someone who thinks highly of his religion. Did you know?… His first and middle name – Shaquille and Rashaun – means “little one” and “warrior” in Arabic respectively.

O’Neal stated that he believes in God and credited God for all his success and achievements thus far. While being a Muslim, Shaquille O’Neal’s parents bear Christian names.

Music and Movie Career:

The former American NBA star was not only geared towards basketball but also had some drive for music and movies.

His music endeavors include; four Studio albums, two compilation albums, two soundtracks, one unreleased album and nine singles.

O’Neal has also featured in numerous movies and reality shows and has performed so well in every role he was assigned to.

When he stopped Drinking Alcohol:

Shaquille O’Neal’s parents had once disciplined him in the past for drinking.

Did you know?… He gave up on alcohol since his teenage days when his sergeant stepfather caught him and his cousin with a 12-pack of beers and showed them no mercy.

As at the time of writing, he doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol. Recalling his experience with his stepfather, O’Neal said:

“He was really hard on us, and now that I’m older, it’s like I had a Harvard education on how to become successful, and I didn’t even know it.”

Meaning of Shaquille O’Neal’s Tattoos:

Shaquille O’Neal has inked a fair number of tattoos on his body.

The most notable of his inking is one of his pseudonyms – Diesel – which was tattooed on his left hand just above his favourite tattoo – the letter “S” of superman which stands for his immortal ego.


Biography Summary:

Last on our Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Story & Biography Facts, we provide you his wiki knowledge-base. The table below will assist you to find information about him in a concise and easy way.

Shaquille O'Neal Biography Facts (Wiki Inquiry)Answers
Full Name:Shaquille Rashaun "Shaq" O'Neal.
Nicknames:Shaq (Main).
Date and Place of Birth:March 6, 1972 (age 48)
Newark, New Jersey.
Parents:Phillip A. Harrison (step dad), Joseph Toney (father) and Lucille O'Neal (Mother).
Siblings:Ayesha O'Neal (sister), Jamal O'Neal (brother) and Lateefah O'Neal (sister).
Wife:Shaunie O'Neal (2002 to 2011)
Children:Shareef O'Neal (son), Shaqir O’Neal (son), Me'arah O'Neal (daughter), Amirah O'Neal (daughter) and Taahirah O'Neal (daughter).
Height:7 ft 1 in (2.16 m)
Weight:325 lb (147 kg)
Education:Robert G. Cole Junior-Senior High School.
Occupation:Retired professional American basketball player. Now a sports analyst.

FACT CHECK: Thanks for reading our Shaquille O’Neal Childhood Story, plus untold biography facts.

At childhood biography, we strive for accuracy and fairness. Asides from Shaquille O’Neal’s Bio, we have other related NBA childhood biography stories for your reading pleasure. The Life History of Jayson Tatum, Lamelo Ball, and Ben Simmons will interest you

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Hi there! I'm Cole Xavier, a writer and storyteller with a passion for exploring the lives of famous people through their childhood memories. With a warm and friendly writing style, I hope to engage readers and spark their curiosity about the lives of the famous people they admire.


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