The talented son of NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal has rejected his famous father by trying the hard way to build a professional career.
The son of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal, attended pre-NBA Draft training at the LA Lakers facility this week against his father’s wishes.
Shaq – whose No. 34 Lakers jersey was retired from the team in 2013 – preferred his 22-year-old son to stay in college, but Shareef insists he’s ready for the NBA plunge, the New York Post reports.
“We’re quite bumping into this process,” the younger O’Neal told reporters on Wednesday (AEST) — two days before the 2022 NBA Draft — at the Lakers practice facility, adding that he didn’t rely on his father for advice. throughout the process.
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Shareef, like his father, attended Louisiana State University (LSU), but had a very different story from his father. He played a total of 37 games over three seasons at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and LSU due to a number of health issues — averaging 11 minutes, three rebounds and 2.6 points per game.
He underwent open heart surgery during his freshman year (2018) at UCLA and was sidelined in his two seasons with LSU with foot and ankle injuries.
“He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to improve myself because of this,” Shareef said of his father — who dominated at LSU before going No. 1 to Orlando in the 1992 NBA draft.
“He knows I train with teams. But I’m not going to lie, we haven’t talked about this. I’m just going through it. He didn’t do pre-draft workouts; he just came straight for the (Orlando Magic), so it is another routine.
“So he didn’t want me to do this, and I know he probably doesn’t want me to say this, but I’m sorry. We’re both adults, we’ll get over it.”
Shaq did not graduate before entering the NBA, but eventually went back to LSU to complete his degree. He then earned a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix online and a PhD from Barry University.
The Lakers have no pick in Friday’s 2022 NBA Draft (AEST), but have continued to hold pre-draft workouts with young talent including Jordan Hall, Cole Swider, Orlando Robinson, Kyler Edwards and Isaiah Whaley.
“I feel like he and I have a very different story now,” Shareef said when asked if he felt any pressure following his father’s legacy.
“I’ve experienced some things that he hasn’t experienced. He was the number 1 pick in the Draft. I had to grind a bit to get here. I had to grind a lot. I’ve been through some stuff in the last four years – foot injuries, heart surgery – and I don’t really seem to be in his shadow.”
Shareef – a 208cm, 97kg power forward – took part in the G League Elite prospect camp last month.
“I had the feeling that I didn’t get enough opportunities at university. I didn’t feel like myself in college,” he said. “(The invitation) has opened many doors for me. … I feel like it really brought me back and showed a little bit of what I can do.
“And once I got calls from teams to train, I was like, ‘Man, this is what I wanna do’. I mean, I’m here, it’s right in front of me, so go for it. So I kept working. ”
Shareef said Shaq “didn’t like that idea at all” when his son decided to make an NBA push. Chances are, Shareef will go undrafts on Friday and will have to make his way into the league as a free agent.
“It sucks that he didn’t like that idea, but I’m a grown man, I’m 22 years old, I can make my own decisions,” Shareef said. “It was right in front of me. I don’t shy away from it.
“If I see it, I’m going to get it. That’s just how I’m built. I take everything the same way. I had my heart surgery the same way.
“Being purified was right in front of me, being healthy was right in front of me, and I went for it. I’m not afraid of anyone.
“I know he’s an NBA legend, I know he’s my dad, but it was right in front of me, I had to go get it. So whether he likes it or not, it won’t really stop me from to do what I want to do.”
Shareef reported to the Lakers facility, where he wore No. 6 during pre-draft training.
“Hopefully LeBron (James) doesn’t get mad,” he said. “I’m wearing his (No. 6) practice shirt.”
This story first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Shaquille O’Neal, Not Happy When Son Goes Against His Will To Enter The NBA