The retired sportsman earned his doctoral degree in Education from Barry University and he accepted his award during a commencement ceremony at the James L. Knight Center in Miami.
Wearing the school's traditional cap and red gown, which had been custom-made for the towering star, the former Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers player had to bend down on one knee so his professor Dr. David M. Kopp could place a light blue hood around his neck in recognition of his studious achievements.
Accepting the degree, he said, ""Everyone thinks this is honorary. But this is not honorary. I put in four-and-a-half hard years staying up late at night, studying, reading, rewriting papers Dr. Kopp marked up.""
He then gave the audience a laugh as he picked up Kopp, to the cheers of his fellow graduates, and later posed for photos with his doctorate.
O'Neal, 40, dropped out of high school as a teen, but he decided to get serious about his studies in 2000 and enrolled at Louisiana State University to earn his bachelor's degree.
He then took an online program and studied for his master's, before working on his doctorate.