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When Shaquille O’Neal revealed touching story behind his Muslim name: “Why did you name me Shaquille?”

F1 Grand Prix of USA
Shaquille O’Neal (F1 Grand Prix of USA)

Shaquille O'Neal is a self-described people person. The Hall of Famer has never shied away from the fact that his reputation as an NBA player has given him a great life. As a result, he loves to give back to others whenever possible. While being a people person may be in Shaq's nature, it's allowed him to blend into nearly any setting seamlessly.

While he has made it known that he wants to make Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, O'Neal has stopped short of identifying with just one religion. While many have believed that he is Muslim because of things like kissing fellow Muslim Hedo Turkoglu before every game, that may not be the case.

O'Neal has said he belongs to every religion because he is a people person. However, Shaquille O'Neal has revealed in the past that his name has Muslim origins.

In a video where he recalls asking his mom about his name, O'Neal says:

"I said, 'We have Brians and Kennys and Mikes and Gregs in our family, why did you name me Shaquille?' and she said, 'I wanted to name you something that meant something.' My name is Shaquille Raushaun O'Neal, Shaquille is an Islamic name, it means 'little,' Raushaun means 'warrior.' She said, 'You my little warrior, I fought with you, I fought for you.'
"She tells me a story that as a two-year-old I was very very over-sized for a two-year-old. So, of course, kids three and under ride a bus free. So she would drag me up to the bus and the guy was like, 'Hey you gotta pay the extra money,' and my mom would say, 'No, he's only two,' so I actually seen her fist fight with a bus driver one time."
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You can see his comments in the video above.

Shaquille O'Neal's faith and religious affiliation

While Shaquille O'Neal has stated that he belongs to every religion, his relationship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has drawn criticism. Shortly after being criticized for his racist remarks regarding Yao Ming, Shaq's relationship with the controversial NOI leader earned him plenty of criticism.

It was reported that Farrakhan had attended O'Neal's wedding, leading many to wonder why O'Neal had associated with someone who promoted division. After addressing his controversial comments toward Yao Ming, O'Neal spoke about inviting Farrakhan to his wedding in Beverley Hills.

Shaquille O'Neal (Kansas Intersquad Scrimmage)
Shaquille O'Neal (Kansas Intersquad Scrimmage)

Surprisingly, the NBA legend didn't apologize for associating himself with the polarizing figure. During an interview with the LA Times, he said he didn't judge anyone, including Farrakhan. At the same time, he seemed to hint that he didn't agree with everything the NOI Minister believed.

“When you know yourself, who you are and what you are, you don’t worry about certain things. I’m not going to lose sleep over this.... Hopefully, people won’t judge me by what they think my beliefs are.
“The world we live in, there’s trials and tribulations. We move on. What I believe right now doesn’t matter. My views are my views."
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This year, O'Neal found himself in the crosshairs of Farrakhan for not standing up for Kyrie Irving, who was suspended for antisemitic postings.

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Edited by Piyush Bisht
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