Meet America's Next Generation Of Shaqs
Shaquille O'Neal is retired. But a new wave of Shaqs — all born after the big man started his rise to fame at Louisiana State — are about to take his place in the sports world.
In the fall of 2008, the Shaq barrier was broken.
It had been 16 years since major college sports had seen a player named Shaq. To that point, there had only ever been one: Louisiana State's Shaquille O'Neal.
Then came Shaqs No. 2 and 3, both college football players: Shaq Wilson at South Carolina, and Shaquille Belson at Louisiana-Monroe. Their parents were ahead of the curve. Both were born during Shaq's freshman year at LSU.
But the real rise of people named "Shaq" coincides with O'Neal's move to the NBA. It's been 21 years since the 7-footer first entered the league, and kids born during the heart of Shaq's Orlando Magic years are now just turning 18.
On the gridiron and the hardwood, we're seeing the results of a mid-'90s Shaq boom. There are now 11 Shaqs in college hoops, and 12 in college football. In the next three years, there are 19 high-level football recruits named Shaq, per Rivals.com, and seven more in college basketball.
Keeping track of all these Shaqs isn't easy. Here's a helpful guide for the new generation: