Call Him Dr. Shaq: Shaquille O’Neal Earns Ph.D

In case you missed it: One of the NBA's most colorful characters got a new title and a new nickname over the weekend.

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Peter Andrew Bosch / Miami Herald / Landov

Towering over his classmates, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, gestures before the graduation ceremony, Saturday, May 5, 2012 at the James L. Knight Center in Miami.

Retired NBA superstar and well-known nickname enthusiast Shaquille O’Neal has a new moniker: The Good Doctor.

Sporting a triple-extra-large red robe and a black cap, the 7′ 1″, 325-pound former center, now a basketball analyst for TNT,  received a doctorate in education from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., over the weekend.

During the ceremony, which was held in downtown Miami’s James L. Knight Center, O’Neal knelt so that department chair David Kopp could place the light blue doctoral hood around O’Neal’s shoulders.  The crowd erupted when O’Neal then lifted his professor into the air.

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O’Neal’s degree focuses on organizational learning and leadership, with a specialty on human resource development; for his thesis he studied how CEO’s and business leaders use humor as part of the work environment.

After the ceremony, Dr. O’Neal praised his parents and the university during a press conference. He credited his parents for always pushing him to excel in education before basketball. O’Neal earned his first degree from Louisiana State University in 2000, eight years after he left the school early to play in the NBA. He received an MBA online from the University of Phoenix and, according to Barry University, has spent the last four-plus years completing 54 credit hours with a 3.81 grade point average. According to ABC News, the four-time NBA champion says he now wants to go to law school.

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