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Shaquille O'Neal is a Shaq Lawson fan because of his Google alerts

We are beginning to see the first round of Shaq-babies hit the NFL. No, these aren't Shaquille O'Neal's children, but aspirational parents who began naming their kids Shaq in the early '90s hoping they could emulate the NBA legend. Now he's taking notice.

O'Neal spoke to The Buffalo News about new draft pick Shaq Lawson, who was selected by the Bills in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. The Clemson defensive end was one of the best players in the draft, and O'Neal had been following his career.

"I have Google alerts any time 'Shaq' comes up," said the 7-foot-1 O'Neal, who was listed at 325 pounds during his career. "The past four or five years -- I think I've ran into about 150 athletes named Shaq -- Shaq Lawson kept coming up.

"So I've known who he was and been a fan of him. I'm most proud of him."

The phenomenon of Shaquilles in sports was destined to come true. In 2012 a piece by "Harvard Sport Analysis" explored the explosion of the name "Shaquille," which was almost unused until the early 1990s and exploded in popularity. In 1993 and 1994 the name reached its zenith, which is why we're seeing NFL players enter the league now who share the name.

Name Team Position Birth Year
Shaquil Barrett Broncos OLB 1992
Shaq Evans Jaguars WR 1991
Shaq Thompson Panthers OLB 1994
Shaq Lawson Bills DE 1994
Shaq Mason Patriots OG 1993
Shaquille Riddick Cardinals LB 1993

We might have hit peak-Shaq in terms of seeing players enter the NFL Draft, as the name dropped off in popularity in the mid to late '90s. But as long as Shaquille O'Neal still has his Google alerts, at least he'll be on top of all the sports Shaqs out there.