Shaquille O’Neal

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1996 Outstanding Album by an Athlete – 6th annual la music awards

A 900 lbs. bronze statue is huge, even by Shaquille O’Neal standards. So, when the LSU Athletic Department debuted its homage to the The Big Diesel outside the men’s practice facility this past September, even the man himself was in awe. The statue, which features O’Neal executing one of his thunderous two-handed jams, is taller than Shaq and nearly three times as heavy. After the statue was unveiled in front of a giant purple LSU banner that had been retrofitted with a Superman logo, Shaq was uncharacteristically at a loss for words.

“I’m honored. I’m humbled,” he said. “There’s been a lot of great athletes that came through this University, a lot that were greater than me…I’m just honored that they chose me to make a statue of.”

O’Neal, was inducted into the LSU Hall-of-Fame in 2000, spent three years with the Tigers before leaving to turn pro. In that time, he averaged over 20 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. He was a two-time SEC Player of the Year and First Team All-American. And he was the AP National Player of the Year in the 1990-1991 season.

Despite leaving school early, Shaq returned in 2000 to complete his degree in general studies as he had promised his mother he would. Surrounded by current and former LSU team members, Shaq reminisced about his time in Baton Rouge. He spoke of fondly of Coach Dale Brown and the great food, nightlife and football games he enjoyed while attending the university. And even though he’s won NBA titles, MVP Awards and Olympic Gold medals, Shaq called the statue ceremony at LSU “one of the top two moments in my life.”