NBA Lakers and Miami Heat Star Shaq Graduates From College, A Role Model for Black Men

When I first saw the news that NBA basketball star Shaquille O'Neill will be receiving his  college degree on Saturday, I thought to myself "It's about time he graduated!" But after a  more careful examination, I am actually impressed that the 15-time NBA all-star is actually getting his Doctorate.

And here I was thinking he hadn't even gotten his underaduate degree from college.

In his USA Today column Shaq says, “The degree isn't honorary. I worked for it, and I'm as proud of this as anything I have accomplished in my life.”

He describes how he entered the NBA draft after his junior year at Louisiana State University in 1992, and through correspondence courses, was able to get his Bachelor's degree. As he says, “Education matters. It instills self-discipline. It exposes a person to a world of shared knowledge. It forces us to stay attuned to current events. And most important, it helps each of us understand how and where we fit into this world.”

O’Neill’s graduate degree is in Organizational Learning and Leadership, with a specialization in Human Resource Development from Barry, a Catholic University in Miami. His thesis? "How Leaders Utilize Humor or Seriousness in Leadership Styles."

Though it sounds like a cheesy commercial, as he says “a degree, whether high school or doctoral, is not a finish line; it's simply a mile-marker. My learning will continue. I want others to come along for the ride.”


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Lakshmi Sarah

Born and raised in California, Lakshmi is an educator and journalist. With roots in Kochi, Prague and San Francisco she divides her time between the places she feels at home. Over the past few years, Lakshmi has worked with newspapers and magazines from Gaborone, Botswana to Los Angeles, California. Lakshmi has several years of experience working with the National Student Leadership Conference. In 2009 and 2010 she directed the NSLC program on Journalism & Mass Communication at American University in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Pitzer College in California where she studied Global Communications and Studio Arts. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Journalism, Media and Gobalization in Aarhus, Denmark.

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