NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal received his doctorate degree from Barry University on Saturday in Miami, Florida and the new doctor explained why chose to pursue education despite already having remarkable achievements.
"One, I promised my parents I would [follow my passion for education]. Two, I wanted to continue my education and three, I wanted to challenge myself," Dr. O'Neal told ABC News.
"The hardest part was getting back into high school mode. You ever have that high school teacher that says, you've got to read six chapters over the weekend?" he added.
The 7-foot, 1-inch tall four-time NBA champion was among 1,100 students who were presented with doctoral degrees. While on stage, donning a bright red, XXXL-sized robe, the 325-pound retired center dropped to one knee so that Dr. David M. Kopp could place a light blue hood around his neck.
The funny O'Neal, who based his thesis on the "value of humor in leadership," then stood back up and lifted Kopp briefly as the delighted audience laughed and cheered him on.
In 1992, the father of three left Louisiana State University early to pursue his NBA career and later returned back to school to complete his bachelor's degree, which he received in 2000.
O'Neal later earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2005, before he began pursuing a doctorate with a focus on Organizational Learning and Leadership and Human Resources.
"I'm proud because I know he earned that title. With all the money he's got, he could have [paid for an honorary degree]. But he didn't. And now I get to call him Dr. O'Neal," O'Neal's mother Lucille O'Neal said.
O'Neal is now ready to achieve even more and is now seriously considering attending law school in the near future.
"The work was very rigorous, but very enjoyable. And I'm not done. I think I'm going to try law school next. I'm thinking about it. We'll see," O'Neal said.