It is time for another autobiography, and how about this for a title? Shaq Uncut: My Story.” Sounds pretty daring, much like the man Shaquille O’Neal himself.

But first, let’s go down memory lane. Jon Niednagel first spotted Shaquille during his transition from high school to college hoops at LSU, immediately noticing his uniqueness. O’Neal was fierce, “nasty”, extremely coordinated, hawk-eyed, and perhaps most telling, fine-motor-skilled. After all, just look at his hook shot. Unlike your gross-motor Magic Johnson (#1 FEAR) and others, Shaq then and now has never had quite a true hook shot. His shot, in fact, has always relatively been a mere wrist-flick. Although at the time Niednagel had never met Shaquille, after careful observation, he “met” his motor-skills and other Type-identifiers, and soon realized that the young, big buck was a #6 BEIR. In turn, Niednagel predicted (telling 3 NBA teams) great things for the 7-foot center, a prediction that he never would have made for most of the other 15 BTs. Of course, looking back, those predictions came truer than blue.

Why? Well, let us consider Shaquille in terms of the center position. If Shaq were a #1 FEAR (which might indeed fall more in line with his “personality”), Niednagel would not have made such a prediction, simply because #1s do not make your most successful centers (among other things, they don’t relish the rough physical contact, often shying away from it). Also, we needn’t mention again Shaq’s complete lack of gross-motor prowess.

Moving along, if Shaq were a #5 FEIR, such would make him a dominant Empirical/sensate, rather than a dominant Inanimate/thinker, and one could tell from O’Neal’s “nastiness” that he was no dominant Empirical (and lest we now forget the shattered backboards and relationships he’s had over the years). From here, BTInsiders should find it rather simple to find few other options. Shaquille’s amazingly athletic coordination for his size rules out every Left brain dominant choice (not to mention his “zany,” Right brain behavior), and anyone familiar with the #9 FCAR and #10 BCAR would be pressed to find any similarities (the gentle Yao Ming, anyone? Or the smooth and silky Julius Irving?).

It is interesting to note, too, how Shaq was described while at LSU. Coach Dale Brown (#7 FEIL) loved his star player, and what’s more, he heartily agreed with Niednagel’s assessment when he heard it first-hand years later. Brown once said of Shaq, “Right from the get-go, he knew he had plenty to learn. He never stopped working. He had a passion to succeed, and he had the kind of personality that made him a joy to coach. He had plenty of talent, but no ego. He was embraced by teammates.” Of course, Niednagel has written extensively of the #6’s relentless work ethic (especially with parents involved, which Shaquille had in the form of his military father – a drill sergeant no less). And as far as Shaq’s lack of ego before the dollars and fame came crashing down, “He told me he didn’t want everything to revolve around him,” Brown said.

Of course, Shaquille O’Neal is an outgoing individual, something which throws most personality-typists way off. BTI, of course, no longer uses the term “introvert” and “extravert,” largely due to this exact misleading misunderstanding (Back brain vs. Front brain dominant). O’Neal was the oldest of three siblings, and their family moved often (even to Germany for a time), which is a recipe for any Type to have a more outgoing nature. (Also, both of Shaq’s parents are Front-brained another strong influence for offspring outgoingness/ extraversion.) In junior high in Germany I fought kids all the time,” says Shaq. “I had such a bad temper, I almost got thrown out of school. A few lickings from my dad got me out of that scene. He wore me out with a paddle. It’s commendable to see Shaq’s father kept the feisty #6 in line.

You will also recall us mentioning in a previous article that the #2 BEAR and #6 BEIR can be the most “extraverted” of the “introverts,” and we do see this in O’Neal. Think of fellow #6s Bill Walton, Gary Payton, Pete Rose, John McEnroe, and Bobby Knight. In Brain Types and Parenting, Niednagel says of BEIRs, “Drawn often to the world of sports and action, coordinated BEIRs express themselves and their competitive natures with flair and accuracy.” After retiring, Shaq embodied this description when he said, I’m going to miss the competition. I’m going to miss the chase for the ring. I’m actually going to miss everything.”

Of course, BEIRs can be intelligent, but school is often not their greatest love.A Admirably, Shaquille went back to school nearly a decade ago to earn his bachelor’s degree at LSU. In his own words, however, I thought finishing school would be easy, but it was kind of hard. Thank God for the Internet. And in response to his GPA at LSU dropping from 3.0 to 2.0., he stated, Too much Nintendo.

Despite his antics, it is interesting to note, too, O’Neal’s face (especially when compared to #1s and #5s). Though he can definitely smile from ear to ear, his face is often quite expressionless. He is also notorious for his low monotone voice, with his countenance often seeming to hang. These are subtle nuances of his Back brain design (which conserves until its energy is needed). You will find few Front-brainers (especially Right brain dominant) with such a vocal humdrum. Wikipedia reports: Although he was a favorite interview of the press, O’Neal was sensitive and often went weeks without speaking. He employed an interview technique where, sitting in front of his cubicle, he would murmur in his low pitched voice.

Sadly, Shaquille has reportedly not been in much contact with his ex-wife, Shaunie O Neal, nor his kids over the years. We’re okay. Since the divorce, it’s been more traumatic for the kids. They don’t get to see him or talk to him very much, like I wish they could. But I double up and I do what I have to do. Now retired, one would hope Shaquille would see them more often, but such has apparently still not been the case. “No, that’s the unfortunate part,” says Shaunie. This, of course, can be an unfortunate tendency of the aloof #6 BEIR. Also, O’Neal has shown no interest in meeting his biological father, Joseph Toney. (Here’s a reported interview with Toney.) On one of his rap albums, in fact, he voiced his feelings of disdain for his father in the song “Biological Didn’t Bother”. Animates are far more prone to reestablish relationships, and to offer forgiveness. Conversely, never betray a #6. It is unlikely that you will ever regain their trust.

So much more could be written, and in greater detail. Above all else, Shaquille O’Neal’s motor skills give him away, which granted him the tremendous success he was able to find in the NBA (particularly as a 7-footer). There will never be another player like him … that is, until another agile, coordinated, large-framed, hard-working 7-foot BEIR comes along.

Details of Shaq’s autobiography will be touched upon in a future article. There are many hilarious and revealing stories he shares about himself and some fellow NBA players.

Written by: Staff
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