Shareef O’Neal Says Father ‘Didn’t Like the Idea’ of Him Staying in Draft
Shareef O’Neal recently worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers, hoping to follow in his Hall of Famer father’s footsteps in the NBA. But according to Shareef, Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t believe his son should be working out for the Lakers and believes his oldest son should’ve stayed in school.
Shareef spoke to the media Monday after his pre-draft workout with the Lakers, and the topic of his father came to the forefront.
“I felt like in college; I wasn’t getting enough opportunity. I wasn’t feeling like myself in college,” Shareef said. “I got that invite to the G League Elite camp, and that opened a lot of doors for me. I feel like it really brought me back and kind of showed a little bit (of) what I can do. And once I started getting calls from teams to work out, I was like, ‘Man, this is what I want to do.’ I mean, I’m here; it’s right in front of me, so just go for it. So I continued to work.”But his father, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 draft, preferred the 22-year-old to spend another year in college.
“He didn’t like that idea at all,” O’Neal said. “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. It was right in front of my face. I’m not backing up from it. I’m going to go get it if I see it. That’s just how I’m built. I take everything the same way. I took my heart surgery the same way. Being cleared was right in front of me, being healthy was right in front of me, and I went for it. I’m not backing down from nobody. 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, if he likes it or not, it’s not really going to stop me from doing what I want to do.”
Shaq didn’t graduate from LSU before being drafted to the NBA but eventually returned to LSU to complete his degree. He then received his master’s at the University of Phoenix online and a doctorate at Barry University in Florida.
“He knows I’m working out with teams. But I’m not going to lie; we ain’t talked about this. I’m kind of just going through it. He didn’t do any pre-draft workouts; he just got straight on the [Orlando Magic], so it’s a different grind.
“So, he didn’t want me to do this, and I know he probably doesn’t want me saying this, but sorry. We’re both grown; we’ll get past it.”
The younger O’Neal played 37 collegiate games in one season with UCLA and his father’s father’s alma mater, LSU. He has career averages of 2.6 points and three rebounds per game on 40.5 percent shooting from the field.