Born Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal in Newark, New Jersey on March 6, 1972 the Miami Heat basketball player is today familiar to millions of fans as Shaq, the 325 pound, 7'1' superstar famous for backboard shattering dunks.
Although born in the States, young Shaq spent most of his childhood in Germany where his stepfather was stationed in the U.S. Army. It was there that he learned to play basketball, later returning to the U.S. playing for Louisiana State University, kicking off a stellar basketball career.
Beginning in 1992, he was signed with the Orlando Magic, helping the team to a total 41 wins.
In 1996, he left Orlando to join the Los Angeles Lakers, and became part of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team in Atlanta, and was later selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History that same year.
Shaq Attack on the Backboard
He later led the Lakers to to three consecutive NBA titles beginning in 2000 and was named MVP of the NBA Finals all three times.
In 2004, following an NBA Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons, O'Neal asked to be traded to the Miami Heat.
The following year, he was plagued by a thigh injury, but rebounded in 2006 to help his team to victory at the NBA Finals in his fourth career NBA championship.
Off the court, Shaq has starred or performed in a handful of Hollywood movies including Kazaam, He Got Game, and a more recent appearance in Scary Movie 4.
This summer, the slam dunker appears on a reality TV program on ABC in which he will act as a coach to overweight children in Shaq's Big Challenge.
In September, O'Neal filed for divorce from wife Shaunie Nelson in a Miami court saying that the marriage was "irretrievably broken," — and cited Shaunie's secretive financial dealings as a major cause for the split.
The couple married in 2002 and have four children, sons Shareef, 6, and Shaqir, 3, and daughter Amirah, 4. The youngest O'Neal, a daughter, was born Me'arah Sanaa on May 2006. O'Neal has a daughter Taahirah, 9, and Nelson has a son Myles, 8, from previous relationships.