How Tall Are Shaq’s Parents? Everything You Need To Know

Shaquille O’Neal, also known as Shaq, is one of the most dominant and successful basketball players of all time.

He is a four-time NBA champion, a 15-time NBA All-Star, and a Hall of Famer.

He is also one of the tallest players in NBA history, standing at 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m) and weighing 325 pounds (147 kg).

Shaq in a picture with Kevin Hart
Shaq dwarfing Kevin Hart | PEOPLE

But how did Shaq get so tall?

How tall are his parents and other family members?

In this article, we will explore the height of Shaq’s parents and how it influenced his growth and development.

Shaq’s Parents: Joseph Toney and Lucille O’Neal

Shaq’s biological father is Joseph Toney, who was a high school basketball star in Newark, New Jersey.

He met Shaq’s mother, Lucille O’Neal, when they were both 17 years old.

Mother Lucille O'Neil
Mother Lucille O’Neil |
Essentially Sports

They had a brief relationship that resulted in Shaq’s birth on March 6, 1972. However, Toney was addicted to drugs and was arrested for possession of cocaine when Shaq was an infant.

He was sentenced to five years in prison and lost contact with his son.

Lucille O’Neal raised Shaq as a single mother until she married Phillip Harrison, a career Army sergeant, when Shaq was two years old.

Harrison became Shaq’s stepfather and legal guardian, and moved the family to various military bases around the world.

Shaq's biological father
Shaq’s biological father |PEOPLE

Shaq considers Harrison as his real father and credits him for instilling discipline and work ethic in him.

Both of Shaq’s parents are taller than average. His mother, Lucille O’Neal, is 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall.

His father, Joseph Toney, is also 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall.

However, they are still well below the average NBA height of 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m).

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Shaq’s Growth Spurt and Genetic Potential

Shaq was not always a giant. In fact, he was relatively short during his early years.

He was only 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall when he entered high school in Germany, where his stepfather was stationed.

He was also skinny and lacked strength and coordination. He was cut from his high school basketball team in his freshman year.

However, things changed dramatically when Shaq moved to San Antonio, Texas, in his sophomore year.

He had a massive growth spurt that added 7 inches (18 cm) to his height in one year. He also gained weight and muscle mass, and improved his skills and confidence on the court.

He became a dominant force in high school basketball, leading his team to a state championship and earning the Texas Mr. Basketball award in 1989.

Shaq continued to grow taller until he reached his adult height of 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m) by the time he entered college at Louisiana State University (LSU).

He also weighed around 300 pounds (136 kg) by then.

He dominated college basketball for three years, winning numerous awards and accolades, before declaring for the NBA draft in 1992.

Shaq’s exceptional height is largely due to his genetics.

According to How They Play, height is determined by a combination of factors, such as genes, hormones, nutrition, and environment.

Genes account for about 80% of height variation among individuals.

Shaq inherited tall genes from both of his parents, who are above average in height themselves.

However, genes are not the only factor that influenced Shaq’s height.

Hormones also play a crucial role in regulating growth and development.

The most important hormone for height is human growth hormone (HGH), which is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain.

HGH stimulates the growth of bones, muscles, and organs throughout the body.

Shaq may have had higher levels of HGH than normal during his childhood and adolescence, which contributed to his rapid growth spurt.

Nutrition and environment are also important factors that affect height.

A balanced diet that provides adequate calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is essential for optimal growth and development.

A healthy environment that is free from stress, disease, pollution, and violence can also promote growth and well-being.

Shaq had access to good nutrition and a supportive environment during his formative years, thanks to his mother and stepfather.

Shaq’s Family: Siblings and Children

Shaq has four siblings: two half-brothers and two half-sisters.

His half-brothers are Jamal Harrison (born in 1970) and Lateef Harrison (born in 1973), who are the sons of his stepfather, Phillip Harrison.

Shaq's 6 Kids
Shaq has 6 Kids. |PEOPLE

His half-sisters are Ayesha Harrison (born in 1974) and Shaqirah Harrison (born in 1976), who are the daughters of his stepfather and mother, Lucille O’Neal. Shaq is close to his siblings and often spends time with them.

Shaq also has six children: four biological and two adopted.

His biological children are Shareef O’Neal (born in 2000), Amirah O’Neal (born in 2001), Shaqir O’Neal (born in 2003), and Me’arah O’Neal (born in 2006), who are the offspring of his former wife, Shaunie O’Neal.

His adopted children are Taahirah O’Neal (born in 1996), who is the daughter of his ex-girlfriend, Arnetta Yardbourgh, and Myles B. O’Neal (born in 1997), who is the son of Shaunie’s previous relationship.

Shaq’s children are also very tall, especially his sons. Shareef O’Neal is 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m) tall and plays college basketball for Louisiana State University (LSU), following his father’s footsteps.

Shaqir O’Neal is 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall and plays high school basketball for Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California.

He has committed to play for Texas Southern University in the future. Myles B. O’Neal is 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) tall and is a model and social media influencer.

Taahirah O’Neal is 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and is a singer and songwriter. Amirah O’Neal is 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and plays college basketball for Louisiana State University (LSU) as well.

Me’arah O’Neal is 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall and plays high school basketball for Crossroads School as well.


Shaq’s parents are both taller than average, but not exceptionally so.

They are both around 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall, which is well below the average NBA height of 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m).

However, Shaq inherited tall genes from both of them, as well as other factors that influenced his growth and development, such as hormones, nutrition, and environment.

He had a massive growth spurt during his teenage years that made him one of the tallest players in NBA history, standing at 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m).

He also passed on his height to his children, who are all very tall as well.

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