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Selfless: Shaq Pays For 15 Of His Friends To Get Their Master’s Degrees

Shaq giving a speech at his graduation from Barry University after earning his Ed.D.

Shaquille O’Neal is an American icon. His acts of generosity and his overwhelmingly “nice” persona have made him a hero. Almost every American knows him simply as “Shaq.” His size, at 7-foot-1, is foreboding, but once that smile lights up his face, all the walls come down. Recently, Shaq told the story of his Master’s degree and how it all happened.

During an interview on the “Be Better Off Show,” he discussed some early business ventures. He was distressed because, during business meetings, they would say hello to him. Then, they would inevitably address the lawyers and accountants with the meat of the meeting. Shaq felt he was being “dismissed” because he didn’t have a degree. So the superstar decided to do something about that. You can watch the entire interview with Shaq on the “Be Better Off Show” on YouTube.

Shaq was recruited after his sophomore year at Louisiana State University, so he didn’t graduate before joining the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1992. Returning to LSU, Shaq completed his undergraduate program and earned a Bachelor’s degree in 2000. He also put numbers on the board as one of the greatest NBA players ever.

Dr. Shaquille O'Neal during an interview on the "Be Better Off Show" discussing business goal setting and how he earned his master's degree.
Image from YouTube.

He decided on the University of Phoenix to earn his Master’s degree. Phoenix is predominantly an online university, but Shaq didn’t want to take classes online—he wanted a real classroom. In speaking with the people at the university, Shaq discovered they needed 15 enrollees to teach an in-person class. He did what Shaq does and he made that happen. He paid the tuition for 15 other people to earn their Master’s degrees so the university would set up in-person instruction!

Shaq Didn’t Stop Learning After Getting His Master’s Degree

Shaq believes that education is an integral part of everyone’s journey. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in education (Ed.D.) in 2012 from Barry University Florida. The Ed.D. in Human Resources Development honors his mother’s strong emphasis on education. During his four years at Barry, Shaq maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.813. It is important to note that his doctorate was earned, and it is not in any way an “honorary” degree, as some might claim.

He has become one of the most successful athletes who has turned to business ventures. Shaq continues to amaze the world with his business savvy and philanthropy. Whether you watched him play in the NBA or recognize him from TV commercials, his name is well-known. Understanding the work Shaq dedicated to earning his masters helps us to understand his drive and ambition to be a better person.

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