I’ve been a fan of Shaquille O’Neal since his college days at LSU which is why I was excited to do the research for this. In fact, I was such a huge fan that I had both Orlando Magic gear as well as LSU gear in my bedroom as a young kid. However, the one question that was never answered for me was, “How tall Shaq is?” Guess what, I’ve finally got the answer to that question and so much more! I can tell you one thing, he’s spent a lot of time chowing down on the foods that make you grow like an out of control weed so it seems!
Shaquille O’Neal Height Facts, Career Details, & More
Shaquille O’Neal is a truly massive human being. At a barefoot height of 7 feet (7’2″ while wearing his signature size 23 shoes), he was one of the single tallest players in the NBA during his tenure. He notably also possessed the highest maximum vertical reach ever recorded in pre-draft basketball workouts. He could extend to a total of 12 feet, 5 inches from a relaxed standing position.
Shaq was born Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal to mother Lucille O’Neal and father Joe Toney on March 6th, 1972 in the city of Newark, New Jersey. Shaq’s mother Lucille was adamant when he was born that he keep her maiden name so that he could, as she said: “…continue the family name.” His father Joe was an All-State point guard during his high school days who was offered a full scholarship to the prestigious Seton Hall.
Unfortunately, Joe struggled with drug addiction and never completed his tenure at Seton, instead, ending up imprisoned for possession when Shaquille was only an infant. Upon his release, Joe decided that it was best to stay out of his son’s life. To that end, he signed over his rights to Phillip A. Harrison, an Army sergeant who had married Lucile during Joe’s time in prison and had already begun acting as Shaquille’s stepfather. Shaq didn’t speak to his biological father throughout his childhood, only reconnecting in 2016. He was quoted as telling his father “I don’t hate you. I had a good life. I had Phil.”
Due to his stepfather being a military man, Shaq and his family tended to move around, spending time in places like Germany and Texas. Ending up in Texas turned out to be a boon for Shaquille, as he found local fame while leading his high school’s basketball team to an impressive 68-1 record throughout his junior and senior years, bringing home the state championship in his final year.
College Life At LSU
Shaquille’s high school basketball career led to a scholarship at Louisiana State University, which he attended until his junior year when he left college early in 1992 after being drafted into the NBA, specifically for the Orlando Magic. He hit the professional courts with a bang, setting a record during his first week in the NBA as the fastest-ever named Player of the Week.
After five years with the Orlando Magic, Shaquille was offered a 7-year, 120 million dollar contract to join the Los Angeles Lakers. To date, this is the most substantial amount of money ever offered in a single NBA contract.
Another fascinating facet of Shaquille O’Neal’s life is that he’s an avid investor, and has been for decades. One of his early investments was in the franchise 5 Guys, and as of 2018 he currently owns 150 franchises, comprising roughly 10% of all national 5 Guys locations. He also owns 16 different Auntie Anne’s franchises due to this being his favorite type of junk food. At one point his financial dealings were so prevalent in the corporate realm that Howard Schultz approached him to invest in Starbucks as a fledgling national company. Shaquille declined the offer under the assumption that “…black people don’t drink coffee.”, a move he has since stated he profoundly regrets. Shaq has done a bunch of sneaker deals too with brands like Reebok.
While Shaq has tended to invest in businesses he enjoys going to, he’s also made some incredibly savvy business choices. A great example of his investment acumen was his forward-thinking choice to invest in the tech giant Google before the company ever went public. His net worth currently sits around $350 million, and he stands to make more money as an investor and business owner than he ever did playing professional basketball. Oh, and he makes regular appearances on talk shows too. Here’s a photo of him with Jimmy Fallon.
While Shaquille O’Neal isn’t the tallest person in the world, he certainly scares the crap out of me given that he towers over 99.99% of people on this planet.