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10 Questions With...Shaquille O'Neal

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You would think Shaquille O’Neal would have a ton of time on his hands after announcing his retirement from the NBA in June, right? But the big man’s schedule is jam-packed—he’s completing schoolwork for his PhD program, receiving private instruction in film directing, and even loaning his voice to an interactive undersea adventure.

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O’Neal recently introduced “Shaq’s Little Fishy Things,” an iPhone and iPad application for kids ages four and up. The app, which features high-definition video, animation, and facts about ocean inhabitants, is a fun, digital learning tool guided by the All-Star center. “Kids are on phones and iPads more and more now, so I thought this would be a cool way for them to learn and keep them entertained,” O’Neal says. “I like fish, kids like fish, so this was a fun way for me to get involved.”

Despite a hectic schedule, the three-time NBA Finals MVP came up from his underwater world to answer’s 10 Questions.

What time is your alarm set for?
11:30 a.m. I go to bed late. I’m nocturnal, so I wake up a little late.

Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry ice cream?
Vanilla all the way!

What was your childhood nickname?
JC for Just Cool. Don’t ask why!

If you weren’t an athlete, what would you want to do?
I’d want to be a sheriff of a small town. I’m really interested in law enforcement and I’m all about the community, so that would be a good fit for me.

Why do you wear the jersey number you do?
I changed jersey numbers a few times, but the last number I wore was 36. My jersey number was always in the 30s throughout my career, so three was always in there. The six in 36 was for the six teams I played for.

What is your favorite city to compete in?
I Love Dallas, New York and LA. They are big market cities and I have always felt in order to gain respect as a player, you have to play well in those in those cities.

What do you do on days off?
I try to get a lot of rest. I’m also working on my PhD in human resource development at Barry University right now and writing my dissertation. I’m hoping to graduate next year.

Who is the greatest athlete of all-time?
That’s a tough question. There are a lot of them. Each sport is different. That question is hard. I can’t answer it!

Who is your best friend in sports?
[Former NBA forward] Dennis Scott. Our friendship started when we played for the Orlando Magic and we’re still close. Now that I joined the TNT team [as an NBA analyst] we’re going to be working together. I’m going to see a lot more of my buddy.

What is the last (non-food) item that you purchased?
A nail clipper. My nails were getting long. I was in CVS, walked down aisle and  spotted the clipper. Oh and I bought a nose hair clipper too. Nose hairs can’t get too long! (laughs)