GRAPEVINE (AP) – Shaquille O’Neal says earning his doctoral degree in education was harder than anything he ever did athletically.

During a keynote talk on the opening day of the annual NCAA convention, the four-time NBA champion and 15-time All-Star said Wednesday his three years as an LSU player were the best time of his life.

In the age of one-and-done college basketball players, O’Neal says he understands why some leave so soon. He thinks they should have to stay in school at least three years before going pro, such as the rule for NCAA football players.

O’Neal’s question-and-answer session was conducted by NCAA President Mark Emmert, the former LSU chancellor who presented O’Neal his undergraduate degree in 2000. O’Neal got his doctorate from Barry University in Florida last May.

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