By Mike Stetzer
September 12, 2007 - The divorce attorney for NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal has announced that the Miami Heat big man has filed for divorce from his wife of nearly five years.
Divorce attorney Ira Elegant (what a cool last name) recently told The Miami Herald that a divorce petition on behalf of Shaq Diesel was filed in Miami Dade-Circuit Court this past Tuesday.
In the Shaquille O'Neal divorce petition, the former Los Angeles Lakers' star asks his wife Shaunie to provide a "correct accounting of all money, funds, stocks, bonds, and other securities" that she accessed or obtained during the marriage.
One of the most dominant centers to ever play the game of basketball, O'Neal currently makes $20 million a year with the Heat. O'Neal also makes several million dollars in endorsement deals each year; thus making this an even more interesting divorce case to watch in terms of potential property division and alimony determinations.
The couple has already put their home on Miami Beach's Star Island on the market for $32 million after purchasing it for roughly $19 million in 2004.
Shaquille and Shaunie O'Neal were married on December 26, 2002 and are the parents of six children. Four of those children are from their relationship while both Shaq and his soon-to-be ex-wife each had a child prior to the marriage.
Shaq has not yet commented on the reasons for his divorce. The Miami Heat has also denied a request to comment on the Shaquille O'Neal divorce.
While new to his personal life, divorce has been a major part of O'Neal star-studded career in the NBA. After being drafted out of LSU with the first pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, O'Neal spent four seasons with the Orlando Magic.
While leading Orlando to the NBA Finals in 1995, O'Neal left the team as a free agent in the summer of 1996 and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. His abrupt departure from Orlando led to a lukewarm relationship with former Magic teammate Penny Hardaway, who ironically came out of retirement this summer and signed with O'Neal's current team, the Heat.
While the Penny-Shaq divorce created some headlines, it hardly rivaled what was in store in Los Angeles. O'Neal and Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant (also a subject of recent divorce rumors) butted heads throughout their time together in Los Angeles.
Described by some as "Star Wars," O'Neal and Bryant often sent verbal barbs back and forth through the media. Both players sought the affection of the Lakers' management and displayed a jealously with each other that would have made even the most selfish children blush.
While winning three straight championships from 2000 through 2002, O'Neal and Bryant had enough of each other after the Lakers were whipped in the 2004 Finals by the Detroit Pistons. Choosing Bryant over O'Neal, the Lakers traded Shaq to Miami during that summer.
The two feuding superstars would later "reconcile" a couple of seasons later at the request of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, but it's safe to say the relationship between O'Neal and Bryant remains less-than-peachy after the divorce in Los Angeles.