Call him "Dr. Shaq" O'Neal

(CBS News) During his 19-year National Basketball Association career, Shaquille O'Neal's teams won four titles.

But now he's adding a new and different title: Doctor.

O'Neal dominated pro basketball, and used the fame he earned on the court as an entree to a lucrative career away from the hardwood, in movies and commercials.

In a recent ad for Buick, he said, "I've got shoes that are bigger than most hybrids - and more stylish, too."

O'Neal earned millions and became a household name but, through it all, he was working on another goal.

In a public service announcement for Barry University, from which he's graduating Saturday, he says, "You know me from my reputation on the court, but basketball is just a part of my life. I'm also a student."

O'Neal continues to keep a promise he made to his parents in 1992, when he left Louisiana State University for the pros after his sophomore year.

More than a decade after he began college, O'Neal received his Bachelor's degree from LSU, then went on to earn an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

On Saturday, he adds another impressive title: an Ed.D. - a doctorate in education.

And as he points out, it's a real degree, not an honorary one.

"When he was in class," says Barry University Associate Prof. Dr. David Kopp, "he was front-and-center, raising his hand. He had no problem fitting into the desk, which was my concern."

But no one was concerned about his commitment: Over four-and-a-half years, O'Neal took 16 courses, completed 54 credit hours and carried a grade point average of 3.8.

He now wants to be called "Dr. O'Neal" - because he's earned it.

  • Randall Pinkston

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