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Shaquille O'Neal Scrapbook

   Timeline     Shaquille O'Neal   

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March 6, 1972
In Newark, N.J., Lucille O'Neal gives birth to seven-pound, 11-ounce Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal (his first and middle name mean "Little Warrior" in Arabic). Lucille isn't married at the time to Shaquille's father, Philip Harrison, a municipal employee, so Shaq takes his mother's last name. Lucille and Philip would marry two years later. Shaquille's younger siblings are Lateefah, Ayesha and Jamal.
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Harrison joins the army, beginning a series of moves for Shaq and his family. O'Neal bounces around New Jersey before moving to Fort Stewart, Georgia at age 10. By this time, being an army brat takes its toll on Shaquille. In his 1993 autobiography, Shaq Attack, he writes, "A pattern had been established. I'd come into a new place, I'd get teased about my name (sometimes they'd call me Sha-Queer) or my size and how I must've flunked a couple grades, and I'd bash somebody in the face ... But I wasn't mean. I was a follower, doing things just because they seemed to be cool."

At the age of seven, Shaq begins to play basketball. His dad is his first coach

O'Neal and his family relocate once again, this time to West Germany. Shaq is not in favor of the move. Once overseas, he continues to act out and rebel (getting in fights, hitting teachers, breaking into cars, etc.) in hopes that he'd be sent back to the States. However, Harrison puts an end to that dream, telling Shaquille, "Look, son, no matter what you do, I'm not letting them send you back. And if you don't listen to me I'm going to beat your butt. Every ... single ... day." The speech is a key factor in Shaq getting his act together. O'Neal also credits his participation sports for helping him shape up.

At a military base in Wildflecken, West Germany, LSU basketball coach Dale Brown gives a clinic. He spots Shaquille and asks, "Where are you from soldier?" "I'm not a soldier," replied O'Neal, then 6-foot-6. "I'm 13-years-old." Brown immediately begins recruiting Shaq.
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April 1987
Harrison is transferred back to the States and the family moves to San Antonio. O'Neal enters Cole High School for his junior year.

November 1988
Brown's recruiting pays off as Shaq commits to Louisiana State University. O'Neal had considered North Carolina, N.C. State, Illinois and Arizona before choosing LSU. "I looked at [the SEC] as a big, tough, roughneck, country boy conference, not like the ACC which was kind of the pretty, rich-boy conference," O'Neal says in his book.

Spring 1989
Shaquille graduates from Cole High School having led the basketball team to a 68-1 record over his two seasons. In his senior year, the Cougars go 36-0 and win the state championship. In his two years at Cole, O'Neal averages 32.1 points, 22 rebounds and eight assists per game.

March 1990
As a freshman, Shaq is the third option on offense for the Tigers behind Chris Jackson and Stanley Roberts. Consequently, O'Neal finishes the season averaging just 13.9 points per game. However, his 12 rebounds per game are tops in the SEC.
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July 1990
At the U.S. Olympic Festival in Minneapolis, Dale Brown coaches the South squad. He asks O'Neal to play and the big man obliges by dominating the tournament. In four games, Shaq totals 98 points, 55 rebounds and 27 blocks to win MVP honors.

December 18, 1990
Shaq sets his single-game collegiate high in scoring with 53 points against Arkansas State.
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March 1991
O'Neal becomes the first player ever to lead the SEC simultaneously in scoring (27.6 points per game), rebounding (14.7 pg), field goal percentage (62.8%) and blocked shots (140). His per-game rebounding average tops all Division I players, and he is voted a consensus first-team All America as he helps the Tigers to a 20-0 record and the SEC championship.

March 29, 1991
More accolades for a dominating season: Shaq becomes just the fourth sophomore ever to win the Associated Press Player of the Year award.

May 21, 1991
O'Neal becomes the first player from LSU to ever be named Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Year. He would go on to win the award in 1992 as well.

March 1992
Another impressive season for Shaq. He tops the SEC in rebounding (14.0 per game), field goal percentage (61.5%), blocked shots (157) and is second in scoring (24.1 pg). For the third consecutive year, he sets the conference record for blocked shots in a single-season -- 115 in '90, 140 in '91, 157 in '92
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April 3, 1992
Not wanting to put his pro basketball career in jeopardy by risking injury, O'Neal forgoes his senior season and declares himself eligible for the NBA draft. He finishes his three-year career at LSU with per-game averages of 21.6 points 13.5 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots.

June 24, 1992
The 7-foot-1, 303-pound Shaq is selected first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft. Shortly thereafter, he signs a seven-year, $41 million contract.
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Summer 1992
Before taking his first steps onto the court as a pro, O'Neal is already one of the top pitchmen in sports thanks to lucrative endorsement deals with Reebok and Pepsi.

November 6, 1992
A solid NBA debut at the Orlando Arena for Shaq: He scores 12 points, pulls down 18 rebounds and blocks three shots in the Magic's 110-100 win over Miami.

November 16, 1992
It doesn't take long for O'Neal to establish his first NBA record. After averaging 25.8 points per game and 16.4 rebounds, Shaq is named NBA Player of the Week. It's the first time in league history that a rookie wins the award following his debut week.

February 7, 1993
Shaquille makes his physical prowess felt: After throwing down a ferocious dunk against the Phoenix Suns, he hangs on the rim, pulling the backboard forward thus causing the back end of the base to come off the ground and the collapsible basket to fold into its storage position. The game is delayed for 35 minutes. "If you think about doing something like that, it won't happen," O'Neal said following the incident.
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February 21, 1993
O'Neal becomes the first rookie to start in the NBA All-Star Game since Michael Jordan in 1985, and scores 14 points.

March 30, 1993
Against the Detroit Pistons, Shaq mixes it up with Bad Boys Bill Laimbeer and Alvin Robertson. Tiring of Laimbeer's bear-hug defensive tactics, O'Neal warns him to cut it out. Robertson jumps between the two, grabs Shaq and refers to him as "rookie," a comment O'Neal interprets as disrespectful. Fed up, Shaq takes a swing at the 6-foot-2 guard and draws the first ejection of his career.

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Photographs by (top to bottom); No credit, George Tiedemann, John Biever (3), Pepsico, Manny Millan