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Shaquille O'Neal

The future Miami Heat basketball player was born Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal in Newark, New Jersey on March 6, 1972. Familiar to millions of fans as Shaq, the 325 pound, 7'1' superstar is famous for backboard shattering dunks.

Shaquille O'Neal

Although born in the States, young Shaq spent most of his childhood in Germany where his stepfather was stationed in the U.S. Army. It was there that he learned to play basketball, later returning to the U.S. playing for Louisiana State University beginning a stellar basketball career.

His professional career began in 1992, when he was signed with the Orlando Magic helping the team to 41 wins that year. In 1996, he left Orlando to join the Los Angeles Lakers, and was part of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team in Atlanta, and later selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History that same year.

He later led the Lakers to to three consecutive NBA titles beginning in 2000 and was named MVP of the NBA Finals all three times.

In 2004, following an NBA Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons, O'Neal asked to be traded to the Miami Heat. The following year, he was plagued by a thigh injury, but has since rebounded in 2006 to help lead his team to victory at the NBA Finals in his fourth career NBA championship.

Off the court, Shaq has also starred or performed in a handful of Hollywood movies including Kazaam, He Got Game, and a recent appearance in Scary Movie 4.

O'Neal married wife Shaunie Nelson in 2002. The couple have four children, sons Shareef, 6, and Shaqir, 3, and daughter Amirah, 4. The youngest O'Neal, a daughter, was born Me'arah Sanaa on May 2006. O'Neal has a daughter Taahirah, 9, and Nelson has a son Myles, 8, from previous relationships.

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