Legendary basketball star and former LSU standout Shaquille O’Neal returned to Baton Rouge to cheer on the top-ranked Tigers football team on Saturday against Arkansas and made quite the impression on the crowd in Tiger Stadium and on television.
The four-time NBA champion received a thunderous applause from the purple and gold-clad crowd when he was introduced in the first half, and went so far as to lift up a cheerleader. After all, when you’re 7-foot-1 and 325 pounds, you can do such things with ease.
O’Neal was the SEC Player of the Year and a consensus All-American in 1991 and 1992 when he starred for the Tigers, and was named the national player of the year in 1991. He led the team to NCAA Tournament appearances in both of those seasons. His No. 33 has been retired by LSU and O’Neal was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
He was the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, and went on to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.