Online Education Is A Slam Dunk For Shaquille
Online Education Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal describes his experience off the court with online education.
That’s Dr. O’Neal to you. Shaquille O’Neal, four-time NBA champion, 15-time All-Star and former Most Valuable Player, earned his MBA while playing in the NBA thanks to the flexibility of online education. And he didn’t stop there.
Basketball isn’t forever. But education lasts a lifetime. This is something Shaquille O’Neal understood before he became a basketball legend and arguably North America’s most gregarious NBA personality.
Way back in 1992, when he left Louisiana State University (LSU) to join the Orlando Magic, he made a promise to his mother. Someday he would go back – and graduate. And he did, earning a bachelor’s in business from LSU in 2000. That was just the beginning of his passion for education.
World of possibilities
Online education has created a world of possibilities for busy people with unbelievably hectic schedules like O’Neal. When he enrolled in the University of Phoenix’s online MBA program, he juggled school with the NBA, celebrity endorsements, acting and music gigs, running his own clothing line and other typical business interests of a mega-superstar.
But education is one of O’Neal’s core values and he was able to make time for what matters to him, thanks to the flexibility online education provides.
“With all the options available, anyone can make time for school.”
“As a former NBA player, you’re always traveling… With all the options available, anyone can make time for school,” O’Neal said.
While he was at the Los Angeles Lakers he attended University of Phoenix classes at a West Los Angeles Campus, as well as doing online class work. After he was traded to the Miami Heat he continued the program online and graduated in 2005.
“I could always go have a conversation with Mr. Gates or Mr. Trump. But now that I have this, I can really have a conversation with them on the same level that they have their conversations.”
Education for hectic lives
“It’s just something to have on my resume [for] when I go back into reality,” he told Associated Press (AP) about the MBA. “Sports for me has always been, you know, fairy tale life. And this right here is real life. This right here means more.”
He agrees that making online education accessible and engaging is important, “so that students are and remain interested in learning. Of course students will always have a better chance of learning the material if they enjoy class.”
The MBA, he told AP, “solidifies that I’m a businessman.”
As a superstar, he has access to big names. “I could always go have a conversation with Mr. Gates or Mr. Trump. But now that I have this, I can really have a conversation with them on the same level that they have their conversations,” he told AP.
O’Neal continued his education at Barry University in Miami, Florida. A year after he retired from the Boston Celtics in 2011, he received his doctorate in Education — Organizational Learning and Leadership.
“For the past four-and-half years, O’Neal pursued his doctoral degree in Education while juggling the roles of athlete, student, and entrepreneur. He completed the requirements of the doctoral program while adhering to the grueling NBA schedule prior to his retirement last year as well as fulfilling commitments in broadcasting and business,” said a news article from Barry University.
Online and remote education made it more feasible. Besides attending classes on campus, he used satellite classrooms, video-conferencing and the online educational tool, Blackboard.com.
“This is for my mother, who always stressed the importance of education...I’m smart enough to know that, even at my tender age, my pursuit of education is never finished.”
This is for mom
In typical Shaq style, he hoisted his professor into the air at the graduation ceremony in 2012.
“This is for my mother, who always stressed the importance of education,” O’Neal said. “I am proud to have achieved a doctoral degree and wish to thank my professors and Barry University for helping make this dream a reality. I’m smart enough to know that, even at my tender age, my pursuit of education is never finished.”