Shaq Inq.

  @FortuneMagazine May 6, 2013: 8:42 AM ET
SHQ20 shaquille oneal

O'Neal in Atlanta just before going on the set of the TNT basketball show


Now that he's retired from basketball, Shaquille O'Neal wants to be a business superstar. And he's decided to get a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership to prove it. He's been a student for several years at Barry University, outside Miami. His dissertation: "The Duality of Humor and Seriousness in Leadership Styles."

He's got the funny part down pat. When you're 7-foot-1 and a few ounces under 325 pounds -- when you're the largest animate object outside of Sea World -- you know that absurdity's never far behind. The dimensions that made you a nonpareil NBA superstar also mean that your hands are so big you can't put on your own cufflinks. And that the bedroom closet in your 63,000-square-foot home is three stories tall. And that an ordinary restaurant booth can be daunting. I recently talked to O'Neal during this year's daylong "Shaq Summit" -- a gathering of his business partners -- and when we sat down at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse in L.A., there was room under the table for only his legs. "Where do I put mine?" I asked. Chortled O'Neal: "I get that a lot."

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