Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal was born on March 6, 1972 weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces. Shaq's mother Lucille O'Neal was not married at the time to his father (Philip Harrison) so Shaq took his mother's last name. However, they got married two years later. He began to play basketball at the age of seven, and was coached by his dad.
In 1984, Shaq and his family relocated to West Germany. He acted out and rebelled (getting in fights, breaking into cars, hitting teachers, etc.) hoping that he'd be sent back to the States, until LSU basketball coach Dale Brown gave a clinic at a military base in Wildflecken, West Germany in 1985 where he noticed Shaq and asks, "Where are you from soldier?" "I'm not a soldier," replied O'Neal, then 6-foot-6. "I'm 13-years-old."
Brown immediately began recruiting Shaq and in 1987, his father was transferred back to the States and the family moved to San Antonio.
Of interest, Shaquille O'Neal was just inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, in Natchitoches. He is part of a basket-ball- heavy class with fellow LSU football greats icons Tommy Hodson and Kevin Mawae.