Shaquille O’Neal, man of seemingly-endless-time-and-energy, graduated with his doctoral degree from Barry University this weekend. After leaving college early to enter the NBA draft but later completing his Bachelors at LSU and a Masters through University of Phoenix, this newest diploma will compete for space in the trophy case.
As he is quick to point out, he earned it:
Everyone thinks this is honorary. But this is not honorary. I put in four and a half hard years staying up late at night, studying, reading, rewriting papers Dr. Kopp marked up.
His pursuit of three degrees has required a balance of textbooks, TV appearances, stints in law enforcement, and appearances in terrible Adam Sandler movies. Oh, and a prestigious NBA career, of course. An impressive resume to be sure, but it’s bolstered by his new accolade: Ed.D. in Organizational Learning and Leadership. Phew!
It paid off, though, as Shaq took a knee in order to receive his hood. Afterwards, he swept his professor off his feet, literally. If anyone else has ever done this at their own commencement, let me know, I want to give you a gold star. Personally, I was too worried about “take with your left, shake with your right” to think about any of those shenanigans, but ever-so-smooth O’Neal pulled it off without a hitch.
Most of his coursework was done remotely, and after a lot of soul searching:
As I was playing, I was doing a lot of business and a lot of the people I was dealing didn’t think we athletes knew what we’re talking about, so I wanted to get my MBA,’’ O’Neal said. “As for my doctorate, I consider myself an expert on leadership from all the years leading in the locker room, but I wanted to become a professional practitioner in the field of leadership. I want to be an African-American version of Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker who can go into Fortune 500 companies and teach them how to get better.
Not to be outdone by, well, himself, he’s considering attending law school next year. Obviously. This sort of go-getter attitude makes me think that Lance Bass is going to have some competition for the first celebrity-civilian-in-space trophy. Can’t you picture Shaq slam dunking on the moon?