shaq & lucille o'neal

Shaq & Lucille O’Neal

*Behind every great man, is a great mother.

Lucille O’Neal shared her secrets to her son’s success with Yahoo! Shine, pointing to education and just plain ol’ good parenting skills.

“In our home we had a rule: No pass, no play,” his mother, she said. “If you didn’t pass the grade, then you weren’t allowed to play the extracurricular activity.”

Good solid advice, right?

Well, her wisdom still resonates with the big man, who recently graduated with a legitimate, truly earned doctorate in education from Barry University in Miami. The 40-year-old 15-time All Star player studied before and after games, at breaks, and between segments on television for four-and-a-half years.

“I was really proud to watch him receive the doctorate because I know how hard he worked,” his mom says. “And what made me most proud was the promise that he made to us a long time ago, that he would continue his education in spite of his fame and the fortune. It really, really made me know that (he learned) the valuable lesson that I taught him, about education being important, and that he did continue.”

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She added that parents should emphasize to their children the importance of being a student first and then an athlete.

“I would encourage each parent to let their child know that there is life after sports, and they need to pursue their education so that they will always have a foundation to fall back on in case they don’t make it to a professional level.”