2017 Class of FIBA Hall of Fame: Shaquille O'Neal
MIES (FIBA Hall of Fame) - Shaquille O'Neal, a man mountain who dominated on the hardwood in both international basketball and the NBA, is being honored with induction to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.
One of the most popular players in the history of the game is among six former players being enshrined into the Hall of Fame, alongside Toni Kukoc (Croatia), Mickey Berkowitz (Israel), Pero Cameron (New Zealand), Razija Mujanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Valdis Valters (Latvia). Joining them is coaching great Dusan Ivkovic (Serbia) and the Dream Team, arguably the greatest international team of all time. They were selected from a list of more than 150 candidates.
The 7ft 1in (2.16m) center was known to fans as The Diesel, Shaq Fu, Superman, The Big Daddy, The Big Shaqtus, The Big Shamrock but once said he wanted to be known by another nickname.
"For all my friends in the media who like quotes, mark this quote down," he said. "From this day on I'd like to be known as 'The Big Aristotle' because Aristotle once said, 'Excellence is not a singular act; it's a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.'"
Upon being told of his induction into the FIBA Hall of Fame, O'Neal told FIBA.basketball: "I am extremely honored to be inducted in the FIBA Hall of Fame. Representing the United States was such an honor. Being on the winning World Cup title team with the Dream Team II in 1994 and winning the Olympic gold medal in 1996 were two of the biggest achievements of my career."
Looking back on his career, what O'Neal repeatedly did was win. He was a giant center that presented the biggest of challenges for every opponent once he got his hands on the ball.
Selected with the top overall pick by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft, he was a star right away. O'Neal started in the 1993 NBA All-Star Game and was also the Rookie of the Year. He enjoyed a 19-year NBA career that produced three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.
O'Neal's name was always prominent in the boxscores, dating back to his college days at Louisiana State University (LSU). He averaged 21.6 points and 13.5 rebounds per game game in three seasons at LSU before turning pro. In the NBA, he tallied 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.
He was as strong as an ox and that was evident whenever he put on the USA jersey. He represented his country for the first time after his second season with Orlando and led the Americans to glory at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Toronto in 1994. He slammed and jammed his way to the top of the podium in Canada, averaging 18 points and 8.5 rebounds in just over 17 minutes per game.
O'Neal and his teammates were so good that their smallest margin of victory at the tournament was 15 points in an 115-100 opening day triumph over Spain. They clinched the title with a 137-91 rout of Russia.
The big center also proudly wore the shirt of the United States at the Atlanta Games, helping the Americans capture gold. It was that summer when O'Neal, a free agent, put pen to paper on a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, thus beginning an eight-year run with one of the NBA's most famous teams.
O'Neal led the Lakers to NBA championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and was named the MVP of the Finals each time. The Lakers retired his #34 jersey to the rafters, making him the eighth player in franchise history to have that honor.
In 2006, O'Neal won his fourth NBA title with Miami.
A 15-time All Star, O'Neal amassed 28,596 points, which ranks him eighth all-time in the NBA.
|Category of Inductee||Player|
|Date of birth||March 6, 1972|
|Place of birth||Newark, USA|
|Height||7ft 1in (2.16m)|
|National team highlights||
The 2017 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame will be inducted during a special ceremony at the House of Basketball - the headquarters of basketball's world governing body on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland - on Saturday September 30.