Shaquille O’Neal often talks about his mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, and how they have a very close relationship. She raised him in Newark, New Jersey, mostly as a single mother. Her husband and Shaq’s biological father, Joseph Tony, were not around. She later divorced Philip Harrison in 2002.
Lucille O’Neal had four children – Shaquille, Aisha, Latifa and Jamal, with Shaq being the eldest.
The four-time NBA champion paid for her education and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and then a Master of Arts in Organizational Management. She was later awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Bethune-Cookman University in 2016. Thus, she goes by the name of Dr. Lucille O’Neill.
In an interview with VC Star, O’Neal said:
“My eldest son who got this good job… he paid for my education because it was my dream. He said: “I will send you, but as long as you study well.”
Lucille is much bigger than Shaquille’s mom and has several businesses of her own, so let’s take a look at her and her life.
Who is Shaquille O’Neal’s mother, Lucille O’Neal?
Shaquille O’Neal’s mother, Lucille O’Neal, is a businesswoman and philanthropist who founded Mother’s of Professional Basketball Players. This organization supports mothers whose sons and/or daughters play professional basketball. She served as executive secretary for four years and represented the association on numerous occasions.
Lucille is a frequent speaker at high-profile events such as college graduations, business conferences, basketball programs, and more. She hosts an annual fundraiser called Shaq’s Mom Said She’d Knock You Out!, a flagship event benefiting the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Foundation, with several celebrities taking part.
The mother of the Los Angeles Lakers legend is also the author of Walk Like You Have Anywhere to Go, and said in her comments:
“Today we believe that role models are very important. However, I believe that real exemplars are important, so today I remain a real exemplar. My path to this has not always been easy. But I stand on the shoulders of everyone who has made an investment in my life.”
Lucille was recently appointed to the board of the Orlando Ovarian Cancer Alliance and to the Board of Governors of M.D. Anderson. When she was introduced as the keynote speaker at the 15th annual Great Futures for Kids Breakfast Conference, the announcer said:
“She has lived through poverty, rejection, abuse, addiction and the sickness of a child, but today her faith and passion for others is stronger than ever.”
Shaquille O’Neal and his mother maintain a close relationship, and she still gives him advice to this day. During his years in the NBA, he had a daily routine before a game with Lucille. In an interview with the Today program, Lucille said:
“I will wink and smile at him and he will play his game. But by the time he got to the NBA, we already had a ritual. I gave him gum and then kissed him and said, “Play your game.” Like a grown man.”