The former NBA player and Hall of Famer visited LSU to watch the team take on Arkansas on Saturday

By Jason Duaine Hahn
November 25, 2019 02:39 PM

At 47, Shaquille O’Neal still has the incredible strength that made him one of the most dominant NBA players ever — and he showed it off in front of thousands at his alma mater over the weekend.

The NBA Hall of Famer visited Louisiana State University on Saturday to watch the school’s football team take on Arkansas at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. O’Neal played basketball at the university before being selected by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft.

O’Neal stepped onto the field to hype up the crowd after being introduced in the first half of the game, and footage shared by ESPN showed the four-time NBA champion swooping up one of LSU’s cheerleaders and lifting her over his head as the crowd broke into cheers.

According to CBS Sports, O’Neal was the SEC Player of the Year and a consensus All-American in 1991 and 1992 while he played for LSU. In each of his two seasons, O’Neal helped to lead the school to the NCAA Tournament, and he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

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After his time at LSU, O’Neal went on to become a force in the NBA during his first few seasons with the Magic. But he would hit his peak as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant. The duo helped the franchise win three straight championships from 2000 to 2002, which included four NBA Finals appearances.

But growing tension between O’Neal and Byrant lead the Lakers to trade the former to the Miami Heat in 2004. O’Neal was paired with a young Dwyane Wade, and the Heat won the NBA title in 2006.

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Shaquille O’Neal
ESPN/Twitter

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O’Neal’s later years saw him join multiple teams, such as the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics, before announcing his retirement in June 2011.

Now serving as an analyst on TNT’s Inside the NBA, O’Neal told PEOPLE in 2018 that he has since made amends with Bryant.

“I always tell people when it comes to the Kobe-Shaq story, the story would be less compelling if we didn’t win any championships,” he said. “Then it’d be, ‘Oh, they didn’t like each other. They didn’t win.’ But, we won three out of four, so I always tell people, what would I change? The answer is nothing. We won three out of four… I feel absolutely good about my career.”

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