Shaquille O'Neal is best known as the hulking 7'1", 300-pound center of basketball's Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, but his is the rare sports personality able to cross over, with debatable success, into other areas of entertainment, such as movies and rap music. He has also been a spokesman for such popular brands as Pepsi and Reebok.
The NBA's future dominant big man and top attraction was born on March 6, 1972, in Newark, NJ, and grew up an army brat, raised on overseas military bases. An All-American and player of the year at Louisiana State University, O'Neal was selected as the top pick in the 1992 NBA draft by the Magic, immediately becoming their meal ticket and earning Rookie of the Year honors. As his persona grew toward household name status, Shaq turned his attention toward film work, first appearing as himself in the rap parody CB4 (1993) and then garnering decent reviews as -- surprise, surprise -- a basketball player in William Friedkin's courtside corruption story Blue Chips (1994).