Interview by Rebecca J. Brock
Co-Written by Theo Destin
Barry University, a prestigious Miami based institution, celebrated its 75th Anniversary on Saturday, October 3rd. The star-studded fundraising event was sponsored by Bank of America and hosted by Barry University’s most celebrated alumni member Dr. Shaquille O’Neal, who received an education doctorate in 2012. The special guest performer of the evening was Grammy Award winning musician, Wyclef Jean. Also in attendance was Miami’s own Grammy Award winning producer Betty Wright, who displayed her talent by putting on a musical production presenting popular American music from 1940 to today.
The guests were treated to a brief cease in time as the Soho Studios in the heart of Wynwood, Miami was transformed into Club Barry, a supper club conjuring nostalgia of 1940’s. This was upheld by a live jazz band, exquisite cocktails and hor’d ourves, all before further indulging in Betty Wright’s sophisticated atmosphere.
Our very own L’Etage Magazine contributing writer Rebecca Brock had the fortunate opportunity to sit down one on one with Dr. Shaquille O’Neal.
Rebecca: I am most curious about the doctorate you earned in 2012 from Barry University. What inspired your thesis “The Duality of Humor and Aggression in Leadership Styles”?
Dr. O’Neal: “Well I was just anxious to know which was more effective”, he told me, “the ones who are deadpan serious all the time or the ones that are very humorous such as myself. I found out in my research that no one person is particularly one way. You have to modulate. I was watching Steve Jobs when he was presenting iPhones, he was always funny and making jokes and after interviewing some of his people they told me no way-he’s 90% serious 10% humorous. So when I played for Phil Jackson, for example, he was like 60% serious and 40% humorous but take Pat Riley, he was like 90/10. Both methods are effective, but being humorous is ultimately more effective in the long run.”
Rebecca: Given your experience as a Miami Beach Police Reserve Officer and US Deputy Marshall, what do you think the average citizen could do to help ﬁght hate crimes?
Dr. O’Neal: “That’s a very touchy situation because not everyone is capable of ﬁghting certain crimes so I’ll just tell you this: keep yourself as safe as possible. I don’t want to give a lady like you some advice to run out there and go ﬁght these guys so…”
Rebecca: What is your favorite Nickname, Big Aristotle, The Diesel, Dr. Shaq, The Big Shamrock or Shaqovic-.
Dr. O’Neal: “Oh deﬁnitely the Big Aristotle because that was the ﬁrst one. You know, I studied literature and was particularly interested in the works of Aristotle and Socrates. It just was right off the top of my head and it just stuck. I like it.”
Rebecca: What’s next for Dr. O’Neal?
Dr O’Neal: “I’m thinking about going to Law School at Barry University.”
You heard it here first!
This very special evening was host too many memorable moments, with the highlight possibly being a surprising cover duet with Wyclef Jean of the Temptation’s hit 1965 single “My Girl”, which was just tongue in cheek and self-depreciating enough to be charming.
Photo Credit: Marcello Oliveira
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