Call Him Dr. Shaquille O’Neal

Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal now holds a Ph.D., and it’s not an honorary one:

The former N.B.A. star Shaquille O’Neal received his doctoral degree in education from Barry University alongside 1,100 other students during commencement ceremonies in Miami Shores, Fla.


O’Neal compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.813 while completing 54 credit hours at Barry, mostly through online courses and video conferencing over the last four years. O’Neal’s doctoral project explored how business leaders use humor in the workplace.

Well, okay…….

FILED UNDER: Education, Quick Takes, Sports
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Technically it would appear he earned (and I use the word loosely) an Ed.D.; although the press release is unclear, in the picture he’s clearly wearing a hood that’s light blue (Education) rather than dark blue (Philosophy).

  2. Dazedandconfused says:

    His daddy raised him right.

    Hell of a lot of NBA players owe their current ability to walk to that mans very, very, very long fuse.

  3. Chris,

    You’re probably right on both counts.

  4. Tillman says:

    Dr. Shaq, knockin; sense into humorless idiots at work.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    For as big a bruiser as he was Shaq was always one of the good guys by NBA standards. Good for Shaq!

  6. His project exploring the use of humor in movies didn’t fair quite so well.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Chris Lawrence:
    You going to argue with him?

  8. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Says somebody gave him $7 million to do it. Unless he paid himself…

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Chris Lawrence: Yeah, I’m afraid that a doctorate in education earned through online courses doesn’t impress me much. Still, Barry isn’t a true degree mill and it’s interesting that Shaq, who certainly doesn’t need the credential, was interested enough in higher ed to even bother.

  10. @James Joyner:

    earned through online courses doesn’t impress me much

    I imagine the automobile didn’t impress buggy makers much either.

  11. Sandra says:

    @James Joyner: Unlike some “for profit” diploma mills, many colleges and universities ARE awarding diplomas to on-line students because it is ACTUALLY MUCH HARDER to accomplish, than to attend a traditional classroom.

    We are a long way from read the books, and answer an exam through email. Many schools use virtual classrooms, complete with lectures and on screen/white board work, as well as classroom interaction AND small group work.

    Telling me I did not earn my degree, when in many classes my classmates were scattered across the globe? It was really fun to work around my “day job” and still get the college work done.

    I can’t imagine that Dr. O’Neal had many “breaks” either.

    As to the topic for his degree, there are worse topics and and people get degrees? Whose to say that it was not rigorous? Dr. William H. Cosby Jr., did his work on “An Integration of the Visual Media Via ‘Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids’ Into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning”.

    I’ve been employed in adult skills education (okay computer operation, security and software applications use) and trust me, we all use “humor” to get many points across to reluctant learners. The dry technical stuff bores them, the comic stuff, they remember.

    Best wishes to Dr. O’Neal!

  12. george says:

    A lot of kids look up to him (figuratively as well as literally); I’d say his showing an interest in further education for its own sake is a good thing.

  13. Jonathan says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t think he wasn’t doing it to impress you. It actually takes more discipline to do it online. It’s old ass people like yourself stuck in 80’s way of education. We have evolved. Apparently, you haven’t. You can learn the same things inside or outside of a classroom. In conclusion, stop hating, and start congratulating. Jealous prick!