In a match-up against Orlando on March 3, 2009, O'Neal was outscored by Magic center Dwight Howard, 21–19. "I'm really too old to be trying to outscore 18-year-olds", O'Neal said, referring to the then 23-year-old Howard.
The Geneva County massacre occurred in southern Alabama on March 10, 2009. Ten people were killed in a shooting spree by Michael Kenneth McLendon, 28, in three small communities in two counties: Kinston, Samson and Geneva, Alabama. Five of McLendon's victims were family members, starting with his mother, and two were children. After engaging in an exchange of fire with police, McLendon committed suicide, bringing the total number of dead to eleven in the related incidents. Officials at the time said this was the worst shooting event in Alabama history.
In March 2009, he was hospitalized due to heart problems. He postponed his one-man tour for surgery to replace his aortic valve, repair his mitral valve, and correct his irregular heartbeat. The surgery was completed on March 13, 2009, at the Cleveland Clinic.
According to an article in The New York Times published on March 15, 2009, Bank of America received an additional $5.2 billion in government bailout money, channeled through American International Group.