“Dr. Shaq.” Has a decent ring to it, no? Well, better get used to it, because now that Shaq has earned his doctorate—which he officially receives from Barry University today—you can expect him to want to be called just that. Via the Palm Beach Post: “No, Shaq is no dummy, and Saturday everyone will know it. During commencement ceremonies at Miami’s James L. Knight Center, he’ll be anointed Dr. O’Neal by Barry University, receiving a doctoral degree in organizational learning and leadership with a specialization in human resource development. Sounds like a mouthful? Not for a guy with a grade-point average of 3.813 over 4 1/2 years at Barry. His dissertation: How Leaders Utilize Humor or Seriousness in Leadership Styles. (Twenty-second timeout: O’Neal rates Pat Riley’s leadership style as 80 percent serious, 20 percent humorous.) Shaq, 40, says becoming Dr. O’Neal is a ‘big accomplishment’ requiring ‘rigorous’ research tracing back to his final season (2008) with the Heat, which explains why he chose a South Florida university. Saturday, this 7-foot-1 retired center will don his custom-made, XXXL robe, receive his degree from the 5-foot Barry president, Sister Linda Bevilacqua, and try not to turn into a bowl of Jell-O. ‘I just hope that when I look at my mother and my girlfriend, I hope they’re not crying,’ he says. ‘I know if I see them cry, I’ll probably lose it.'”
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