*They’ve been spotted together on several outings, and just days ago made headlines during a restaurant date at a Waffle House in Tennessee – but are Shaquille O’Neal and Nicole “Hoopz” Alexander really a couple?

The new rumor is that the two are not just dating, but on the verge of holy matrimony.

According to Gina Gomez at Thaindian.com, the owner of a Las Vegas restaurant has claimed that the Boston Celtic player got down on bended knee during a recent night out and asked Nicole to marry him.

Hoopz and Shaq at a Waffle House in Tennessee

Also… The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reports that The Big Aristotle proposed Hoopz last weekend while he was in Saint Louis to play in Albert Pujols annual charity golf tournament.

Meanwhile… Sam David, the owner of a restaurant in St. Albans, TN, where Shaq recently dined, told the paper: “I think [Shaq] may have proposed to his girlfriend. He brought a chair into the middle of the dance floor and he put a ring on her finger.”

Adding to the rumors…sports website Sports By Brooks reports that their site “has been informed that O’Neal has spent much of his summer in Hoopz’s hometown of Maryville, TN. In fact, the NBA star now has a home with Alexander in Maryville’s Royal Oaks golf community.”

Shaq’s rep has yet to comment on any of this.