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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.During his rookie season, O'Neal averaged 23.4 points on 56.2% shooting, 13.9 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game for the season.After graduating from high school, O'Neal studied business at Louisiana State University. O'Neal left LSU early to pursue his NBA career, but continued his education even after becoming a professional player.He had first met Dale Brown, LSU's men's basketball coach, years earlier in Europe. The Orlando Magic drafted O'Neal with the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.Despite O'Neal's injuries, the Magic finished with a regular season record of 60–22, second in the Eastern conference to the Chicago Bulls, who finished with an NBA record 72 wins.Orlando easily defeated the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks in the first two rounds of the 1996 NBA Playoffs; however, they were no match for Jordan's Bulls, who swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Magic finished 41–41, winning 20 more games than the previous season; however, the team ultimately missed the playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker with the Indiana Pacers.In his first playoff series, O'Neal averaged 20.7 points and 13.3 rebounds in a losing effort as the Magic lost every game to the Indiana Pacers.O'Neal's third season in 1994–95 had him leading the NBA in scoring with a 29.3 point average, while finishing second in MVP voting to David Robinson and entering his third straight All-Star Game along with Hardaway.In addition to his basketball career, O'Neal has released four rap albums, with his first, Shaq Diesel, going platinum.
He has appeared in numerous films and has starred in his own reality shows, Shaq's Big Challenge and Shaq Vs.. O'Neal was born on March 6, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey, to Lucille O'Neal and Joe Toney, who played high school basketball (he was an All-State guard) and was offered a basketball scholarship to play at Seton Hall.O'Neal played well in his first Finals appearance, averaging 28 points on 59.5% shooting, 12.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.Despite this, the Rockets, led by future Hall-of-Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, swept the series in four games.He ranks 8th all-time in points scored, 6th in field goals, 14th in rebounds, and 8th in blocks.