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Stars That Died

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Who is Annie Lederer?

Who is Annie Lederer? The Poker World knows her as Annie Duke, she is a professional poker player and author who won a bracelet in the 2004 World Series of Poker $2,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better Event and was the winner of the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, where she earned the Winner-Take-All prize of $2,000,000.

Duke was born September 13, 1965 in Concord, New Hampshire where her father, Richard Lederer, a writer and linguist, was teaching at St. Paul's School.[1] Her brother, Howard Lederer, is also a professional poker player. Her sister, Katy Lederer, is an author and poet who also wrote a book about the Lederer family, titled Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers. Duke has four children: Maud (1995), Leo (1998), Lucy (2000), and Nell (2002).[1]
Annie went to Columbia University where she double-majored in English and psychology. Subsequent to her undergraduate years, Duke was awarded an NSF Fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania to study psycholinguistics, a field within cognitive psychology.

She married Ben Duke, a close friend from the same university, and moved to his home in Columbus, Montana. Although originally intending to continue her studies, she decided to leave school in 1992, after five years of graduate school and one month before defending her Ph.D. work.[1] It was at this time that, with the support of her brother, she took up professional poker.
In 2002, she moved to Portland, Oregon to work for ieLogic, a company that produces software for online real time casino gaming. She and Ben were divorced in 2004, but she did win a $500 wager made with fellow pro Steve Zolotow,
who bet her that her marriage wouldn't last five years. In 2005 she and her children moved to the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Duke and her then new, Mediterranean-style home — with boyfriend, actor, and producer Joe Reitman
— were featured in The New York Times article "At Home With Annie Duke" on January 19, 2006.[2]

After leaving her academic work, Duke began playing poker in the legal card rooms in Billings, Montana.[1] Her brother, Howard, was already a successful professional and he both coached and helped finance her poker play initially.[citation needed] In 1994, she and her husband moved to Las Vegas in order to commence playing poker full time.
In early 2004, Duke received considerable publicity for tutoring actor Ben Affleck, who then went on to win the 2004 California State Poker Championship.[3] Before that time, one of her claims to poker fame was her 10th place finish in the 2000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event — one position short of the final table — while eight months pregnant with her third child.[3] In the 2004 World Series of Poker, she eliminated her brother, Howard Lederer, from four separate events, including the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, where she took first place and her brother took third. During this same World Series, she won her first gold bracelet, in an Omaha Hi-Lo tournament. She was one of three women (Kathy Liebert and Cyndy Violette being the other two) to win an open event in that year's WSOP.
Duke is one of many poker players who take issue with the restrictions placed on players during televised tournaments. Although the players pay mandatory entry fees to enter tournaments, some venues do not allow players to wear sponsorship logos. Duke raised some controversy when she made a statement in a news article regarding this issue: "We [poker players] are not even slaves. We're people paying to pick the cotton."[4]

As of 2008, Annie holds the women's record for most "in the money" finishes at the WSOP. In September 2004, Duke won $2,000,000 in the inaugural World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, a 10-player, winner-take-all invitational event. At the time, this victory was the most money paid in a single event to a female poker player. That record was broken by Annette Obrestad
during the 2007 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event.
Duke has won one World Series of Poker bracelet, in Omaha HiLo, and more than three million dollars in tournament play. Nowadays she refuses to play in women's only tournaments, saying that "Poker is one of the few sports where a woman can compete on a totally equal footing with a man, so I don't understand why there's a ladies only tournament."[5]
In the Main Event of the 2006 World Series of Poker, she finished in 88th place (out of 8,773 entrants) for $51,129 in winnings. She was one of two women left in the field when she was eliminated. (The remaining woman, Sabyl Cohen, later finished in 56th place for $123,699.)
As of 2008, her total live tournament winnings exceeded $3,600,000.[6] Her 35 cashes[jargon] at the WSOP account for $1,072,231 of those winnings.[7]

On January 30, 2006, Duke became the first poker personality to appear on The Colbert Report. During the show, she talked about her book and what it's like to be a woman in a male-dominated event. In 2006, The Game Show Network (GSN) premiered a television special titled Annie Duke Takes on the World, which features Duke playing against amateur poker players. Duke has also made appearances on the Ultimate Blackjack Tour playing Elimination Blackjack.

On December 1, 2006, Duke appeared as a member of the Mob on The National Broadcasting Network (NBC) program, 1 vs. 100.[8] She correctly answered every question and was the only celebrity who wasn't eliminated. She returned for the next few weeks, answering her questions correctly. She reappeared on the Christmas Day episode on December 25, answering a total of 35 consecutive questions correctly during her time on 1 vs. 100, making her the longest running mob member in the history of the show to that point. Duke returned on February 9, 2007 under special "Last Man Standing" rules where the game continued until only one person remained. She survived to reach the final five of 100 contestants, before she, along with three of the other four mob members including Ken Jennings, were eliminated.[9]
Annie Duke has appeared on NBC's Poker After Dark three times but has not won.

On March 24, 2008, Duke appeared on the NBC show Deal Or No Deal to support a contestant named Mary Beth Holtzheimer who, after taking a $341,000 deal from the bank with only two cases left, found her case #13 had the $1,000,000. Annie gave Mary Beth an offer earlier that included a dinner with herself, Mary Beth, and her fiance John Salmieri; private lessons; and an invitation to attend an All Ladies Poker league if the bank's offer was accepted, but it was not.
Along with Phil Hellmuth Jr., Duke is a coach on Fox Sports Network’s Best Damn Poker Show, which is sponsored by the poker site
She appeared on the Donald Trump reality television show, Celebrity Apprentice.[10] Throughout the season, each celebrity raises money for a charity of his or her choice. Duke has selected Refugees International[11] and has so far raised the most money among the contestants.[12] On May 3, 2009, Duke became a finalist in the series. The other finalist is her primary rival throughout the show, Joan Rivers did win and became the Celebruty Apprentice.

As well as competing, Duke writes and speaks on poker-related subjects, and promotes poker-related organizations. Since 2000, she has been a spokesperson for UltimateBet and has written many articles for the online poker website, mainly on Omaha HiLo. In 2005, Duke penned her autobiography, How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed, and Won Millions at The World Series of Poker.[13]

Annie Duke is a teacher at the WSOP Poker Academy poker school. She appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show and donated a WSOP Academy Experience Package which was auctioned off to benefit the Humane Society.[14][15]

Who is Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal?

Who is Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal?, The world knows him as "Shaq", he is an American professional basketball player, rapper, and actor. He is widely perceived as one of the most dominant players in the history of the NBA[1][2] and one of the most quotable athletes of all time. Currently, he plays at center for the Phoenix Suns. O'Neal has won four NBA Championships, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one most recently in 2006, with the Miami Heat. O'Neal first gained national attention as a star at Linton Middle School. He was born March 6, 1972, he led his Robert G. Cole High School team, San Antonio, Texas, to a 68–1 record during his two years there and helped the team win the state title his senior year.[3]rebounds during the 1989 season remain a state record for any one player in any classification.[4] College career After graduating from high school, O'Neal attended Louisiana State University, where he was a member of Omega Psi Phi and studied business. He had first met Dale Brown, LSU's men's basketball coach at that time, years before in Europe. With O'Neal's stepfather stationed on a U.S. Army base at Wildflecken, West Germany, and his godfather a First Sergeant at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, O'Neal attended Fulda American High School, a DODDS school. While playing for Brown at LSU, O'Neal was a two-time All-American, two-time SEC player of the year, and received the Adolph Rupp Trophy as NCAA men's basketball player of the year in 1991. He also holds the NCAA record for blocked shots in a game with 17 blocks against Mississippi State on December 3, 1990. O'Neal left LSU early to pursue his NBA career, but returned to school in 2000 and received a Bachelor of Arts in General Studies.[5] He was later inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame.[6] NBA career Orlando Magic O'Neal was drafted as the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic (he would later be teammates on the Miami Heat with the second and third picks of that same draft: Alonzo Mourning and Christian Laettner). During that summer, prior to moving to Orlando, he spent a significant amount of time in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
O'Neal had an exceptional rookie season, as he helped the Magic win 20 more games than the previous season, with the team ultimately missing the playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker with the Indiana Pacers. O'Neal averaged 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game for the season and was named the 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year. O'Neal played in the All-Star game and scored 14 points. On two occasions during that season, each during a nationally televised game, O'Neal dunked the ball so hard that he broke the backboard support units. On the first occasion, in a game against Phoenix, the force from his dunk caused the entire goal to bend backward and then slowly sink to the ground. On the second occasion, in a game in New Jersey, the force of the dunk brought down the backboard and shot clock with it. O'Neal's second season was even better than his first. Teaming with newly-drafted Anfernee Hardaway, O'Neal averaged 29.4 points and led the NBA in field goal percentage at 60%. He was also voted into another All-Star game and helped the Magic make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. On November 20, 1993, against the New Jersey Nets, O'Neal registered the first triple-double of his career, recording 24 points to go along with career highs of 28 rebounds and 15 blocks. He made the All-NBA 3rd Team also. In his third season, O'Neal led the NBA in scoring and was voted into his 3rd straight All-Star Game. Orlando won 57 games and won the Atlantic Division. The Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals, but were swept by the Houston Rockets. O'Neal made the All-NBA 2nd Team and was second in MVP voting. By O'Neal's own admission, he was badly outplayed during that series by Houston's more experienced superstar center Hakeem Olajuwon, despite putting up admirable numbers in the series. O'Neal has stated that this was one of only two times in his life that he ever cried (the other at the death of his grandmother). His father also used the loss as motivation, saying to his son that "maybe you shouldn't have shook Mr. Olajuwon's hand" (in congratulations for his win). O'Neal was injured for a great deal of the 1995–96 season, missing 28 games. He averaged 26.6 points per game, made the All-NBA 3rd Team, and he made his 4th All-Star Game. O'Neal scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Magic won 60 games and won the Atlantic Division again, but Orlando was swept by the (eventual champions) Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. Now a free agent, O'Neal contemplated whether his future would be best served by remaining with the Magic or by moving on to a new team. By this point, O'Neal had shown an interest in things outside basketball, including recording several rap albums and acting in films. Summer of 1995 O'Neal was named to the United States Olympic basketball team, and was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Los Angeles Lakers After the 1995–96 season, O'Neal left the Orlando Magic to join the Los Angeles Lakers after being enticed by a seven-year, $121 million contract. The announcement was made in Atlanta at the 1996 Summer Olympics. O'Neal joined a young Laker squad that had recently returned to the playoffs, but of which little was expected. O'Neal's arrival vastly changed expectations, but he missed a significant number of games due to injury in the 1996-97 season and several players had difficulty meshing with the new focal point of the offense. By 1997–98, key role players Rick Fox and Robert Horry had been added by Laker GM Jerry West. This group meshed well and won 61 regular season games. However, in both of his first two seasons in Los Angeles, O'Neal suffered a lopsided play-off defeat by the Utah Jazz. The Lakers lost the 1997 conference semifinals 4-1 and 1998 conference finals 4-0. During a shootaround prior to the season opener versus the Utah Jazz in 1997, O'Neal got into a spat with Utah center Greg Ostertag, slapping him and sending him tumbling to the floor. O'Neal was suspended for the incident. He did not play in the game, due to an abdominal injury. The Lakers were clearly a team on the rise with the tandem of O'Neal and teenage superstar Kobe Bryant. However, the 1998–99 season was marked by nearly constant change within the Lakers. Long-time Lakers point guard Nick Van Exel was traded to the Denver Nuggets after a dispute with O'Neal. His former backcourt partner Eddie Jones was packaged with back-up center Elden Campbell for Glen Rice to satisfy a demand by O'Neal for a shooter. Coach Del Harris was fired and former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman was signed, but Rodman only lasted 23 games before leaving. The result was no better as the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs would go on to win their first league title that year. In 1999, the Lakers hired Phil Jackson as their new head coach, and the team's fortunes soon changed. Utilizing Jackson's triangle offense, O'Neal and Bryant went on to enjoy tremendous success on the court, as they led the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles (2000, 2001, 2002). O'Neal was named MVP of the NBA Finals all three times and has the highest scoring average for a center in NBA Finals history. O'Neal was also voted the 1999–2000 regular season Most Valuable Player, coming just one vote short of becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history. Fred Hickman, then of CNN, was the sole voter who did not cast his first place vote for O'Neal, instead choosing Allen Iverson,
then of the Philadelphia 76ers. O'Neal also won the scoring title that year while finishing second in rebounds and third in blocked shots. In the summer of 2001, holding a basketball camp on the campus of Louisiana State University, O'Neal was challenged by LSU alumnus and current Boston Celtics player Glen "Big Baby" Davis, then 15 years of age and attending high school, to a friendly wrestling match, in which O'Neal, weighing 350 lb (160 kg; 25 st), was lifted and body-slammed to the ground, leaving an impression on him.[7] In January 2002 he was involved in a spectacular on-court brawl in a game against the Chicago Bulls, punching center Brad Miller after an intentional foul to prevent a basket and resulting in a melee with Miller, forward Charles Oakley and several other players.[8] O'Neal was suspended for three games without pay and given a $15,000 fine.[9] Shaquille O'Neal at the White House greeting President Bush with his fellow Lakers. After the Lakers fell to 5th seed and failed to reach the Finals in 2003, the team made a concerted off-season effort to improve its roster. They sought the free agent services of forward legend Karl Malone

and aging guard Gary Payton,
but due to salary cap restrictions, could not offer either one nearly as much money as he could have made with other teams. O'Neal assisted in the recruitment efforts and personally persuaded both men to join the team. Ultimately, each of them signed, forgoing larger salaries in favor of a chance to win an NBA championship, something neither had accomplished in his career (which neither would achieve with the Lakers). At the beginning of the 2003–04 season, with two years left on his contract at the time, O'Neal informed the team of his desire for a substantially larger extension to his contract. O'Neal remained persistently vocal about this desire, but Laker management was hesitant to meet his demands amid concerns about his work ethic, the possibility of further injuries, and a general decline in his game due to age. It is widely believed that there was also concern about O'Neal's relationship with Kobe Bryant, as the two had exchanged public barbs during the off-season. With Bryant scheduled to become a free agent at the end of that season, many believed he would not choose to remain with the Lakers as O'Neal's sidekick. The Lakers did eventually offer O'Neal a large contract in February 2004 (according to the book Madmen's Ball by Mark Heisler) under which he would have unquestionably continued to remain the highest paid player in the league, but he reportedly refused after feeling his services were not needed. After the Lakers' loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was angered by comments made by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak regarding O'Neal's future with the club, as well as by the departure of Lakers coach Phil Jackson at the request of Dr. Buss. O'Neal made comments indicating that he felt the team's decisions were centered on a desire to appease Bryant to the exclusion of all other concerns, and O'Neal promptly demanded a trade. The Dallas Mavericks and their team owner Mark Cuban Dirk Nowitzki,
the Mavs' superstar, in return. Cuban refused to let go of Nowitzki and the Lakers ended trade talks with Dallas. However, Miami showed interest and gradually a trade agreement was made. Miami Heat On July 14, 2004, O'Neal was officially traded to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom,
Brian Grant
and a future first-round draft choice. O'Neal reverted from his Lakers jersey number 34 to number 32 which he wore while playing for the Orlando Magic. Upon signing with the Heat, O'Neal promised the fans that he would bring a championship to Miami. He claimed that one of the main reasons for wanting to be traded to Miami was because of their up-and-coming star, Dwyane Wade. With O'Neal on board, the new-look Heat surpassed expectations, claiming the best record in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 22.9 ppg and 10.2 rpg, made his 12th consecutive All-Star Team, and made the All-NBA 1st Team. Despite being hobbled by a deep thigh bruise, O'Neal led the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals and a Game 7 against the defending champion Detroit Pistons, losing by a narrow margin. He also narrowly lost the 2004–05 MVP Award to Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash
in one of the closest votes in NBA history. O'Neal going in for a layup with the Heat. In August 2005, O'Neal signed a 5-year-extension with the Heat for $100 million. Supporters applauded O'Neal's willingness to take what amounted to a pay cut and the Heat's decision to secure O'Neal's services for the long term. They contended that O'Neal was worth more than $20 million per year, particularly given that considerably less valuable players earn almost the same amount. Critics, however, questioned the wisdom of the move, characterizing it as overpaying an aging and often injured player. In the second game of the 2005–06 season, O'Neal injured his right ankle and subsequently missed the following 18 games. Many critics stated that Heat coach Pat Riley correctly managed O'Neal during the rest of the season, limiting his minutes to a career low. Riley felt doing so would allow O'Neal to be healthier and fresher come playoff time. Although O'Neal averaged career lows (or near-lows) in points, rebounds, and blocks, he said in an interview "Stats don't matter. I care about winning, not stats. If I score 0 points and we win I'm happy. If I score 50, 60 points, break the records, and we lose, I'm pissed off. 'Cause I knew I did something wrong. I'll have a hell of a season if I win the championship and average 20 points a game." During the 2005–06 season, the Heat recorded only a .500 record without O'Neal in the line-up. On April 11, 2006, O'Neal recorded his second career triple-double against the Toronto Raptors with 15 points, 11 rebounds and a career high 10 assists. O'Neal finished the season as the league leader in field goal percentage; he joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players in league history to lead the league in field goal percentage nine times. In the 2006 NBA Playoffs, the Miami Heat would go on to win their first NBA Championship. Led by both O'Neal and star Dwyane Wade, the 2nd seeded Heat defeated the defending Eastern Conference Champion and top-seeded Detroit Pistons in a rematch of the 2005 Conference Finals, and then defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals. O'Neal holding the championship ball when the NBA Champion Heat visited the White House O'Neal put up considerably lower numbers compared to those he recorded during the 2005–06 regular season, but he twice delivered dominant games in order to close out a playoff series: a 30-point, 20-rebound effort in Game 6 against the Chicago Bulls in the first round, and a 28-point, 16-rebound, 5-block effort in Game 6 against the Pistons. It was O'Neal's fourth title in seven seasons, and fulfilled his promise of delivering an NBA championship to Miami. At the victory celebration O’Neal declared another championship was on the way, saying, "We will see you again next year!" In the 2006–07 season O'Neal missed over thirty games with a right knee injury. The Miami Heat struggled during his absence but with his return won seven of their next eight games. Bad luck still haunted the squad however, as Wade dislocated his left shoulder, leaving O'Neal as the focus of the team. Critics were doubting if O'Neal, now in his mid thirties, was able to put the team on his shoulders and if he could carry them into the playoffs. The Heat went on a much needed winning streak to keep them in the race for a playoff spot, which the Heat finally secured against the Cleveland Cavaliers on April 5. In a rematch of the year before, the Heat faced the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. The Heat struggled against the Bulls and although O'Neal put up reasonable numbers, he was not able to dominate the series. The Bulls outplayed the Heat, resulting in a sweep. It was for the first time in ten years that O'Neal did not advance into the second round. In the 2006–07 season O'Neal reached 25,000 career points, becoming the 14th player in NBA history to accomplish that milestone. Despite this milestone, the 2006–07 season was the first in his career in which O'Neal's scoring average dropped below 20 points per game. O'Neal experienced a rough start for the 2007–08 season, averaging career lows in points, rebounds and blocks. His role in the Heat offense diminished, as he attempted only 10 field goals per game, in comparison with his career average of 17. In addition, O'Neal was plagued by fouls, and during one stretch fouled out five consecutive games. As a result of his poor performance and lengthy court absences, O'Neal's 14 straight All-Star appearances ended that season, as he was neither selected as a starter nor as a reserve in the game at New Orleans. Phoenix Suns Shaquille O'Neal as a member of the Suns against the New Orleans Hornets, February 27, 2008 The Phoenix Suns acquired O'Neal from the Miami Heat in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. O'Neal made his Suns debut on February 20, 2008 against his former Lakers team, scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in the process. The Lakers won, 130-124. O'Neal was upbeat in a post-game press conference, stating: "I will take the blame for this loss because I wasn't in tune with the guys [...] But give me four or five days to really get in tune and I'll get it."[10] However, in 28 regular-season games, O'Neal averaged 12.9 points and 10.6 rebounds in his first year with the Suns,[11] reaching the playoffs. One of the alleged reasons for the trade was to limit Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs in case of a series during the postseason, especially after the Suns' six-game elimination in the 2007 NBA Playoffs.[12] O'Neal and the Phoenix Suns did face the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs, yet they were once again eliminated, this time in five games. In the series, O'Neal averaged 15.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.[11] The 2008-09 season differed very much for O'Neal, averaging 18 pts, 9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks through the first half (41 games) of the season, leading the Suns to a 23-18 record and 2nd place in their division. [13] He returned to the All-Star Game in 2009 and emerged as co-MVP along with ex-teammate Kobe Bryant. On February 27, 2009, O'Neal scored 45 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, his 49th career 40-point game in a win against the Toronto Raptors. He and the Suns defeated the Raptors 133-113. He averaged a career high 63% free throw percentage during the 2008-09 season. The 2009 NBA Playoffs was also the first time since O'Neal's rookie season in 1992-93 that he did not participate in the playoffs. Player profile O'Neal's free throw shooting is regarded as one of his major weaknesses. Throughout his career, O'Neal established himself as a formidable low post presence, putting up career averages of 25.2 points on .581 field goal accuracy, 11.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game (as of May 2008). At 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m), 325 lb (147 kg; 23.2 st)[14] and U.S. shoe size 23,[15] he is famous for his physical stature. His physical frame gives him a power advantage over most opponents, and for a man of that size, he is quick and explosive. O'Neal's "drop step", (called the "Black Tornado" by O’Neal) in which he posts up a defender, turns around and, using his elbows for leverage, powers past him for a very high-percentage slam dunk, has proven an extremely effective offensive weapon, though it has been limited in recent years. In addition, O'Neal frequently uses a right-handed jump hook shot to score near the basket. The ability to dunk frequently contributes to his career field goal accuracy of .580; he is the second most accurate shooter of all time. [16] Opposing teams often use up many fouls on O’Neal, limiting the playing time of their own big men. O'Neal's physical presence inside the paint has caused dramatic changes in many teams' offensive and defensive strategies that can be seen over the course of his career. Trying to defend O'Neal, teams put two, or sometimes even three defenders on him, resulting in uncontested shot opportunities for his teammates. O'Neal's primary weakness is his free-throw shooting. His career average is 52.4%. He once missed all 11 free throws in a game against the Seattle SuperSonics on December 8, 2000, a record.[17] In hope of exploiting O'Neal's poor foul shooting, opponents often commit intentional fouls against him, a tactic known as "Hack-a-Shaq". O'Neal is the fourth-ranked player all-time in free throws taken,[18] having shot 9744 in 971 games. On December 25, 2008, O'Neal missed his 5,000th free throw, becoming the second player in NBA history to do so along with Wilt Chamberlain.[19] O'Neal has been able to step up his performance in big games, having been voted three-times NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. However, because of his poor free-throw shooting (see below), often he is either placed on the bench, or not called upon to take shots, in the closing moments of games, when free throws become important. On his own half of the hardwood, O'Neal is considered to be a capable defender, and he was named three times to the All-NBA Second Defensive Team. His presence serves to intimidate opposing players shooting near the basket, and he has averaged 2.4 blocked shots per game over the course of his career. He is a less effective defender at the perimeter, sometimes targeted for pick-and-roll plays by opposing teams. As a teammate, O'Neal is also noted for his ability to form symbiotic relationships with young, talented guards. Playing alongside O'Neal, talents like Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant
and Dwyane Wade blossomed into legitimate superstars. Eventually, his relationships with Hardaway and Bryant soured, but O'Neal has embraced his relationship with Wade, and the two have shown to be fully supportive of each other in their three years together. He has since reconciled with both Bryant and Hardaway. Media personality Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal is generally liked by the media for his playful tone in interviews and generally eloquent manner in comparison to other athletes. This has been the main contributing factor in O'Neal's lack of media criticism. He has been called "The Big Aristotle and Hobo Master", a name that was self-given, for his composure and insights during these interviews. O'Neal has several nicknames, some of which have been given by the media. Some of the most common ones are "Shaq," "The Diesel," "Shaq Fu," "The Big Aristotle," "The Big Daddy," "Superman," "The Big Agave," "The Big Cactus," "The Big Shaqtus," "The Big Galactus," "Wilt Chamberneezy," "The Big Baryshnikov," "The Real Deal," "Dr. Shaq" (after earning his MBA), and, most recently, "Shaqovic."[20][21][22] During the 2000 Screen Actors Guild strike, O'Neal performed in a commercial for Disney. O'Neal was fined by the union for crossing the picket line.[23][24] O'Neal's humorous and sometimes incendiary comments fueled the Los Angeles Lakers' long standing rivalry with the Sacramento Kings; O'Neal frequently referred to the Sacramento team as the "Queens." During the 2002 victory parade, O'Neal declared that Sacramento will never be the capital of California, after the Lakers beat the Kings in a tough seven game series enroute to completing a three-peat of championship titles. He also received some media flak for mocking Chinese speech when interviewed about newcomer center Yao Ming, but he was able to downplay the media attention to the event. O'Neal told a reporter, "you tell Yao Ming, ching chong yang, wah, ah so". Yao himself stated he did not find it offensive, but could see how others might interpret the remark as a racist comment. Yao replied that Chinese is a difficult language to learn. O'Neal's supporters said it was a reaction to Yao being over promoted by marketers and the media. Some blame this hype for allowing Yao to edge O'Neal in fan voting for the starting position of center at the All-Star Game. During the 2005 NBA playoffs, O'Neal lamented of his poor play due to injury as being comparable to Erick Dampier, a Dallas Mavericks center who had failed to score a single point in one of their recent games. The quip inspired countless citations and references by announcers during those playoffs, though Dampier himself offered little response to the insult. The two would meet in the 2006 NBA Finals. On May 24, 2005, when Brian Hill was re-announced as head coach of his former team, the Orlando Magic, O'Neal was quoted as saying, "It's good that he's back. When I buy the team Magic in three years, he'll be working for me." Whether or not this will raise speculation of O'Neal's life after playing basketball remains to be seen.[25]

O'Neal is very vocal with the media, and often jabs at former Laker teammate Kobe Bryant. In the summer of 2005, when asked about Kobe, he responded, "I'm sorry, who?" and continued to pretend that he did not know who Kobe was until well into the 2005-2006 season. O'Neal has also appeared in many other shows such as Saturday Night Live and in 2007 hosted Shaq's Big Challenge, a reality show on ABC where he challenged Florida kids to lose weight and stay in shape. When the Lakers faced the Miami Heat on January 16, 2006, O'Neal and Kobe Bryant made headlines by engaging in handshakes and hugs before the game, an event that was believed to signify the end of the so-called "Shaq-Kobe feud" that had festered since the center left Los Angeles. O'Neal was quoted as saying that he accepted the advice of NBA legend Bill Russell
to make peace with Bryant.[26] However, on June 22, 2008, O'Neal freestyled a diss rap about Bryant in a New York club. While rapping, O'Neal blamed Kobe for his divorce from his wife Shaunie and claims to have received a vasectomy, as part of a rhyme. He also taunted Bryant for not being able to win a championship without him. O'Neal led the audience to mockingly chant several times "Kobe, tell me how my ass tastes."[27] O'Neal justified his act by saying "I was freestyling. That's all. It was all done in fun. Nothing serious whatsoever. That is what MC's do. They freestyle when called upon. I'm totally cool with Kobe. No issue at all."[28] Although even other exponents of hip hop, such as Snoop Dogg, Nas
and Cory Gunz,
agreed with O'Neal,[29] Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has expressed his intention to release O'Neal from his Maricopa County sheriff posse badge, due to use of a racially derogatory word and other foul language. The quote from his song was "it's like a white boy trying to be more nigga than me."[30] Off court Education O'Neal left LSU for the NBA after three years. However, he promised his mother he would eventually return to his studies and complete his bachelor's degree. He fulfilled that promise in 2000, earning his bachelor of arts in general studies.[31] Coach Phil Jackson let O'Neal miss a home game so he could attend graduation. At the ceremony, he told the crowd "now I can go and get a real job". Subsequently, O'Neal earned an MBA online through the University of Phoenix in 2005. It's just something to have on my resume for when I go back into reality. Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else.[32] — O'Neal, in reference to his completion of an MBA degree Law enforcement Also, O'Neal has maintained a high level of interest in the workings of the police department and has become personally involved in law enforcement. O'Neal went through the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Reserve Academy and became a reserve officer with the L.A. Port Police. He is seen in a commercial for ESPN in Miami Police garb climbing up a tree to rescue LSU mascot Mike the Tiger (the costumed one, not the real one). On March 2, 2005, O'Neal was given an honorary U.S. Deputy Marshal title and named the spokesman for the Safe Surfin' Foundation; he served an honorary role on the task force of the same name, which tracks down sexual predators who target children on the Internet.[33] Upon his trade to Miami, O'Neal began training to become a Miami Beach reserve officer. On December 8, 2005, he was sworn in as a reserve officer, electing for a private ceremony so not to distract from the special moment of the other officers. He assumed a $1 per year salary in this capacity.[34] Shortly thereafter, in Miami, O'Neal was a witness to a hate crime and called Miami-Dade police, giving them a description of the suspect and helping police, over his cell phone, track the offender.[35] O'Neal's actions resulted in the arrest of two suspects, whom he had witnessed assaulting a man on the street while calling out homosexual slurs.[36]

Music career Shaquille O'Neal Birth name Shaquille O'Neal Also known as Shaq The Man of Steel was Born March 6, 1972 Origin Newark, New Jersey Genre(s) Hip hop Occupation(s) Rapper Years active 1993 — present Label(s) Jive, Interscope, A&M, Trauma Associated acts Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, DJ Kayslay, Fu-Schnickens, Def Jef, DJ Quik, Erick Sermon From 1993 onward, O'Neal has pursued a rapping career. He has released five studio albums and 1 compilation album. Although his rapping abilities have often been criticized,[37][38] it has been noted that he has continuously been "progressing as a rapper in small steps, not leaps and bounds."[39] His 1993 debut album, Shaq Diesel, received platinum certification from the RIAA. His first rap single, "(I Know I Got) Skillz," was recently featured on the film Pineapple Express. Acting O'Neal has appeared as himself on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, bedridden after Larry David'scharacter accidentally tripped him while stretching, and in two episodes each of My Wife and Kids and the The Parkers. O'Neal appeared in the 311 music video for the hit single "You Wouldn't Believe" in 2001, in P. Diddy's video for "Bad Boys 4 Life", and the video for Aaron Carter's "That's How I Beat Shaq. O'Neal appeared in the movie CB4 in a small "interviewing" scene. O'Neal played John Henry Irons/Steel in a movie based on the popular superhero Steel. O'Neal appeared in a SportsCenter commercial dressed in his Miami police uniform, rescuing Mike the Tiger from a tree. O'Neal was also a support character in the movie "Blue Chips" with Nick Nolte. O'Neal also reportedly wanted a role in the film X2 (the second in the X-Men film series), but was ignored by the filmmakers.[40] He has voiced animated versions of himself on several occasions, including on the animated series Static Shaq episode of Static Shock' in the Johnny Bravo episode Back on Shaq, in which Shaquille O'Neal discovers that Johnny Bravo is a good luck charm and uses him to help his team win games until it came to a face-off against Seth Green and his good-luck charm Huckleberry Hound; and in the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, in which he is seen fighting Godzilla and survives a collision with the Batmobile. Because he is a fan of The Man of Steel, Static Shock creators had hoped to have O’Neal and Superman meet in a Season 3 episode, but O'Neal was not located in time to do the episode.[41] Video games O'Neal is featured on the covers of video games NBA Live 96, NBA 2K6, NBA 2K7, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, NBA Hoopz, and NBA Inside Drive 2004. O'Neal appeared in the arcade version of NBA Jam, NBA Jam (2003) and NBA Live 2004 as a current player and as a 90's All-Star. O'Neal starred in Shaq Fu, a fighting game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis. O’Neal has also appeared in Backyard Basketball 2004, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 as a playable boxer, and as an unlockable character in Delta Force: Black Hawk Down. Reality television O'Neal and his mother, Lucille Harrison, were featured in the documentary film, Apple Pie, which aired on ESPN. O'Neal had a 2005 reality series on ESPN, Shaquille and hosted a reality television show called Shaq's Big Challenge on ABC.O'Neal appeared on NBA Ballers and NBA Ballers: Phenom,in the 2002 Discovery Channel special "Motorcycle Mania 2" requesting an exceptionally large bike to fit his large size from famed custom motorcycle builder Jessie James,
in the first Idol Gives Back in 2007, on on an episode of Fear Factor, and on an episode of MTV's Jackass, where he was lifted off the ground on Wee Man's back. O'Neal is a fan of wrestling and has made appearances at many WWE events. O'Neal was pranked on the MTV show Punk'd when a crew member accused him of stealing his parking space. After O'Neal and his wife went into the restaurant, Ashton Kutcher's crew members let the air out of O'Neal's car tires. O'Neal and the crew member then got into an altercation and after Kutcher told O'Neal he was Punk'd, O'Neal flipped the bird at the camera. .[42] Other projects O'Neal is looking to expand his business ventures with real-estate-development projects aimed at assisting Orlando homeowners facing foreclosure. His plans involve buying the mortgages of those who have fallen into foreclosure and then selling the homes back to them under more affordable terms. He would make a small profit in return, but overall, O'Neal is looking to make an investment in Orlando and help out the homeowners of the city. [43] Personal life Shaquille O'Neal as a member of the Suns O'Neal was born in Newark, New Jersey. He remains estranged from his biological father, Joseph Toney of Newark. Toney has struggled with drug addiction and was imprisoned when O'Neal was an infant. Upon his release, Toney did not resume a place in O'Neal's life and instead agreed to surrender his parental rights to O'Neal's stepfather, Phillip A. Harrison,
an army sergeant.[44] O'Neal and Toney have never spoken, and O'Neal has expressed no interest in a reconciliation.[45] On his 1994 rap album, Shaq Fu: The Return, O'Neal voiced his feelings of disdain for Toney in the song "Biological Didn't Bother", referring to Harrison with the verse, "Phil is my father." In his mansion in Orlando, Florida, O'Neal has a homemade movie theater with two rows of five retractable chairs, Superman lights, another Superman symbol on the floor, a big screen, another superman symbol on his blanket, and 5.1 surround sound. O'Neal also has an indoor basketball court. O'Neal, whose mother, Lucille (née O'Neal), is a Baptist and stepfather a Muslim, has not formally announced affiliation with a specific faith though in 2002, the Los Angeles Times identified O'Neal as being Muslim. The newspaper quoted him as saying, "It's a Muslim thing", with regard to the greetings he exchanged with opposing player Hedo Türkoğlu before each game of that year's Western Conference Finals series. The newspaper also quoted Türkoğlu as saying that he was not surprised at the gesture from O'Neal "because Muslim people support each other."[46] O'Neal married Shaunie Nelson on December 26, 2002. The couple have four children (Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me'arah, ages ranging from 8 to 2, in order), and Nelson has one child from a previous relationship (Myles, 11). O'Neal also has a daughter from a previous relationship (Taahirah, 12), making him the father of six. The family currently resides on Star Island in Miami, Florida. On September 4, 2007, O'Neal filed for divorce from his wife Shaunie in a Miami-Dade Circuit court. According to the petition, "The marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken", and that Shaunie was "secretive about her assets ... particularly with respect to certain properties owned or titled in either [her] name alone or in other entities" and requests that the court require Shaunie to give a "correct accounting of all money, funds, stocks, bonds, and other securities (including bearer securities)" Shaunie later said that the couple had gotten back together and that the divorce was withdrawn. O'Neal is a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.[47] NBA career statistics more

The Cleveland Cavaliers executed a monster trade to acquire Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns. Can O'Neal help LeBron James deliver this seemingly sports-cursed city its first major pro championship in 45 years. The Cavs sent center Ben Wallace
and swingman Sasha Pavlovic to the Suns, along with a second-round pick in the 2010 draft and $500,000 in cash, for O'Neal, the 7-foot-1 center who won three straight titles from 2000 to 2002 with Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. His fourth title came with Dwyane Wade in Miami in 2006. O'Neal is coming off an All-Star season with the Suns, averaging 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in 75 games, but there were times he clogged Phoenix's high-powered offense under coaches Mike D'Antoni,
Terry Porter and Alvin Gentry. Still, the 7-foot-1, 325-pounder can be a defensive stopper.

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