The Big Graduate: O'Neal Receives His MBA

Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal poses for a photo with his classmates before receiving his master of business administration (MBA) degree from the University of Phoenix. (Rene Macura - Reuters)
Sunday, June 26, 2005

Shaquille O'Neal was back at the Forum today -- not for an NBA game, but to pick up his MBA.

The Miami Heat center was perhaps the most famous and certainly the tallest of the 2,200 people receiving degrees from the University of Phoenix yesterday afternoon.

O'Neal, who now plays for the Miami Heat, spent more than a year taking classes and doing online work for a master's degree in business administration. After a decade in the NBA, he says he wants to start thinking about what he is going to do after basketball.

"It's just something to have on my résumé [for] when I go back into reality," O'Neal said. "Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else."

O'Neal left Louisiana State University as a junior in 1992 to turn pro, and made good on a promise to his mother to graduate, earning a bachelor's in business from LSU in 2000.

O'Neal previously took courses at a police academy and said he'll aim for another degree, in criminal justice. He hopes to eventually work as a sheriff or police chief.

· SURGERY FOR HOIBERG: Timberwolves G Fred Hoiberg said he will have heart surgery Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic to correct an enlarged aortic root.

Hoiberg told reporters on Friday that he should be able to play again, but he will consider retiring if the condition is life threatening.

Hoiberg has an aortic root aneurysm, which is causing a bulge where the artery meets the heart's aortic valve. The size of the bulge has grown since January, when he first noticed there was a problem. The 32-year-old played the entire 2004-05 season with the condition.

· OKAFOR RETAINED: The Bobcats have picked up the option on Emeka Okafor's contract, keeping the reigning rookie of the year in Charlotte through at least the 2007-08 season.

-- From News Services

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