Toney struggled with drug addiction and was imprisoned for drug possession when O'Neal was an infant. Upon his release, he did not resume a place in O'Neal's life and instead agreed to relinquish his parental rights to O'Neal's stepfather, Phillip A.
Harrison, a career Army sergeant. I had a good life. I didn't even play on a team. Cole High School in San Antonio, Texas , O'Neal led his team to a 68—1 record over two years and helped the team win the state championship during his senior year. However, his high school team did not have a 33 jersey, so O'Neal chose to wear 32 before college. Please expand the section to include this information.
Further details may exist on the talk page. O'Neal's stepfather was stationed on a U. Army base at Wildflecken , West Germany. During that summer, prior to moving to Orlando , he spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
On November 20, , against the New Jersey Nets , O'Neal registered the first triple-double of his career, recording 24 points to go along with career highs of 28 rebounds and 15 blocks. Teamed with newly drafted Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway , the Magic finished with a record of 50—32 and made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In his first playoff series, O'Neal averaged O'Neal's third season in —95 had him leading the NBA in scoring with a They formed one of the league's top duos and helped Orlando to a 57—25 record and the Atlantic Division crown.
They then defeated the Chicago Bulls in the conference semifinals. O'Neal played well in his first Finals appearance, averaging 28 points on Despite O'Neal's injuries, the Magic finished with a regular season record of 60—22, second in the Eastern conference to the Chicago Bulls, who finished with an NBA record 72 wins.
O'Neal became a free agent after the —96 NBA season. In the summer of , O'Neal was named to the United States Olympic basketball team , and was later part of the gold medal-winning team at the Olympics in Atlanta.
While the Olympic basketball team was training in Orlando, the Orlando Sentinel published a poll that asked whether the Magic should fire Hill if that were one of O'Neal's conditions for returning. The Lakers made the playoffs, but were eliminated in the second round by the Utah Jazz in five games. He led the league with a The Lakers finished the season 61—21, first in the Pacific Division , and were the second seed in the western conference during the NBA Playoffs. After defeating the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics in the first two rounds, the Lakers again fell to the Jazz, this time in a 4—0 sweep.
However, personnel changes were a source of instability during the —99 season. The Lakers finished with a 31—19 record during the lockout-shortened season. Although they made the playoffs , they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs , led by Tim Duncan and David Robinson in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Spurs would go on to win their first NBA title in Championship seasons In , prior to the — season, the Lakers hired Phil Jackson as head coach, and the team's fortunes soon changed. O'Neal also won the scoring title while finishing second in rebounds and third in blocked shots. Jackson's influence resulted in a newfound commitment by O'Neal to defense, resulting in his first All-Defensive Team selection second-team in It's a shame that the referees buy into that", O'Neal said.
He punched center Brad Miller after an intentional foul to prevent a basket, resulting in a melee with Miller, forward Charles Oakley , and several other players. It starts with c and ends with t. O'Neal referred to Divac as "she", and said he would never exaggerate contact to draw a foul. His trademark mobility and explosion had been often absent. The corrective options ranged from reconstructive surgery on the toe to rehabilitation exercises with more shoe inserts and anti-inflammation medication.
O'Neal was already wary of the long-term damage his frequent consumption of these medications might have. He did not want to rush a decision with his career potentially at risk. For the season , the team made a concerted off-season effort to improve its roster. They sought the free-agent services of forward Karl Malone and aging guard Gary Payton , but due to salary cap restrictions, could not offer either one nearly as much money as they could have made with some other teams.
O'Neal assisted in the recruitment efforts and personally persuaded both men to join the squad. Ultimately, both signed, each forgoing larger salaries in favor of a chance to win an NBA championship, which neither had accomplished in his career and which neither would achieve with the Lakers. The Lakers had hoped O'Neal would take less money due to his age, physical conditioning, and games missed due to injuries. The feud climaxed during training camp prior to the — season when Bryant, in an interview with ESPN journalist Jim Gray , criticized O'Neal for being out of shape, a poor leader, and putting his salary demands over the best interest of the Lakers.
Lakers assistant coach Tex Winter said, "Shaq defeated himself against Detroit. He played way too passively. He had one big game He's always interested in being a scorer, but he hasn't had nearly enough concentration on defense and rebounding. O'Neal made comments indicating that he felt the team's decisions were centered on a desire to appease Bryant to the exclusion of all other concerns, and O'Neal promptly demanded a trade.
However, Miami showed interest, and eventually the two clubs agreed. There was no way ownership could give him what he wanted. Shaq's demands held the franchise hostage, and the way he went about it didn't please the owner too much.
O'Neal reverted from his Lakers jersey number 34 to number 32, which he had worn while playing for the Magic. Upon signing with the Heat, O'Neal promised the fans that he would bring a championship to Miami. He claimed one of the main reasons for wanting to be traded to Miami was because of their up-and-coming star Dwyane Wade , to whom he gave the nickname "Flash".
With O'Neal on board, the new-look Heat surpassed expectations, claiming the best record in the Eastern Conference in —05 with 59 wins. He played in 73 games, his most since season, averaged Supporters applauded O'Neal's willingness to take what amounted to a pay cut and the Heat's decision to secure O'Neal's services for the long term.
Riley felt doing so would allow O'Neal to be healthier and fresher come playoff time. Although O'Neal averaged career lows or near-lows in points, rebounds, and blocks, he said in an interview "Stats don't matter.
I care about winning, not stats. If I score 0 points and we win I'm happy. If I score 50, 60 points, break the records, and we lose, I'm pissed off.
I'll have a hell of a season if I win the championship and average 20 points a game. Chicago would respond with two dominating performances at home to tie the series, but Miami would respond right back with a victory at home in game 5.
Miami returned to Chicago and closed out the series in the 6th game, highlighted by another dominating performance by O'Neal who finished with 30 points and 20 rebounds. Miami advanced to face New Jersey, who won a surprising game 1 victory before the Heat won four straight to assure a rematch with Detroit.
The Pistons had no answer for Wade throughout the series, while O'Neal delivered 21 points and 12 rebounds in game 3 followed by 27 points and 12 boards in game 4 to help Miami take a series lead. The Pistons would win game 5 in Detroit, and Wade would once again get injured, but the Heat held on to win game 6 with O'Neal scoring 28 points with 16 rebounds and 5 blocks to help Miami reach their first ever NBA Finals. The Heat led by Wade and a balanced effort by O'Neal, Antoine Walker and Jason Williams would go on to win all three of the next games at home, before closing out the series in Dallas to deliver the first NBA title for the franchise and O'Neal's fourth title.
With Wade carrying the offensive load, O'Neal did not need to have a dominating series, and finished with an average of Jackson had previously said, "The only person I've ever [coached] that hasn't been a worker Bad luck still haunted the squad, however, as Wade dislocated his left shoulder, leaving O'Neal as the focus of the team. The Heat struggled against the Bulls and although O'Neal put up reasonable numbers, he was not able to dominate the series.
In the —07 season O'Neal reached 25, career points, becoming the 14th player in NBA history to accomplish that milestone. His role in the offense diminished, as he attempted only 10 field goals per game, versus his career average of In addition, O'Neal was plagued by fouls, and during one stretch fouled out of five consecutive games.
O'Neal's streak of 14 straight All-Star appearances ended that season. The two argued face-to-face, with O'Neal poking Riley in the chest and Riley slapping his finger away. Riley soon after decided to trade O'Neal.
O'Neal started all 33 games and averaged Following the trade to Phoenix, O'Neal averaged The Lakers won, — O'Neal was upbeat in a post-game press conference, stating: One of the reasons for the trade was to limit Tim Duncan in the event of a postseason matchup between the Suns and the San Antonio Spurs , especially after the Suns' six-game elimination by the Spurs in the NBA Playoffs.
I'm actually on a team again. O'Neal responded with an expletive toward Riley, whom he often referred to as the "great Pat Riley" while playing for the Heat. The trainers had him concentrate on building his core strength , flexibility, and balance. O'Neal with Phoenix teammate Steve Nash. On February 27, , O'Neal scored 45 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, his 49th career point game, beating the Toronto Raptors — My whole career I had to play people one-on-one. Never once had to double or ask for a double.
But it's cool", said O'Neal. During the game, O'Neal flopped against Howard. Let's stand up and play like men, and I think our guy did that tonight.