Is Shaquille O’Neal a bad sport when it comes to pickup basketball? His son Shareef sure thinks so.
Shareef, a junior forward at LSU, said he hasn’t played his father one-on-one in about five years. Part of that may be because, in the younger O’Neal’s estimation, Shaq “plays super dirty” and “fouls a lot.”
“If we score on him, he’ll say it’s a travel,” Shareef told Josh Peter of USA Today. ‘He’ll say anything. I won, but he wants to say he won because he was playing dirty.”
The younger O’Neal added that his father won’t play him or brother Shaqir anymore and avoids any requests to join their games.
“All he does is just kind of stunt on us,” Shareef said. “He’ll tell us, ‘No, I’ve been doing this for 20 years.’ He’s like, ‘I taught you everything you know.’ He’ll say how many (NBA championship) rings he has.”
We do know Shaq and Shareef have a good relationship with some pretty fun banter. There’s little doubt that Shaq would have a very different interpretation of how these pickup games went, but you can understand why he might not want to go after a college basketball player in peak shape these days.
Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Shareef O’Neal was one of the last people Kobe Bryant reached out to before the Los Angeles Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash earlier this year, and O’Neal says that has been a great source of motivation for him over the past several months.
Bryant checked in on O’Neal, who is the son of Shaquille O’Neal, the morning of the helicopter crash. Kobe sent Shareef a text message asking him, “You good fam?” O’Neal opened up about what that meant to him in a recent interview with B/R Hoops, and he said he now has a screenshot of the text saved as the background on his phone.
Shareef opens up to @brhoops about receiving one of Kobe's last text messages and how Kobe's death impacted him: “My phone background is just literally that message and I look at it every day because … it just motivates me.” pic.twitter.com/xQPoWCRPqs
O’Neal was originally an Arizona commit but switched to UCLA after the Sean Miller wiretap scandal. O’Neal took a medical redshirt as a freshman after doctors discovered he had a heart condition for which he underwent surgery. O’Neal was cleared to play this season but only appeared in 13 games. He averaged 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game for the Bruins.
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal may have openly disagreed about a number of things from the time they played together right up until Kobe’s death, but that did not prevent their two families from becoming extremely close. In particular, Kobe made a huge impact on Shaq’s son Shareef.
Like his father, Shareef was hit hard by the loss of Kobe and Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna. TMZ asked Shareef this week what the most important advice was that he received from Bryant, and he said Kobe stressed to him the importance of outworking the competition and not trying to fill Shaq’s massive shoes.
“He just told me to always be the best I can be,” Shareef said. “Always try hard and always try to work harder than everyone else ’cause every day you take off, there’s always people trying to get better.
“He just told me to be the best I can be, I don’t have to live up to my dad’s name. I don’t have to live up to anybody’s name. Be the best I can be.”
Shareef, who recently left the UCLA basketball team and is considering a transfer to LSU, said Kobe, Gianna and the seven others who died in a helicopter crash earlier this month will be on his mind every time he plays.
Not long after the crash, Shareef shared a heartbreaking screenshot on social media that showed Kobe had reached out to him that morning to check in on him. Shareef referred to Kobe as “unc” in the post, which was an indication of the close relationship they shared.
More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:
Kobe Bryant died tragically in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning, and it appears one of the last people he reached out to was Shareef O’Neal.
O’Neal, who is the son of Shaquille O’Neal, announced earlier this week that he is transferring from UCLA. After the news broke on Sunday that Bryant died, Shareef shared a screenshot of a direct message Kobe sent him that morning. O’Neal referred to Bryant as “unc,” indicating the two had a close relationship. Bryant had asked Shareef how he was doing.
Shaq and Kobe won three straight championships together with the Los Angeles Lakers. The two openly butted heads during their time as teammates, but the fact that Kobe reached out to Shareef to see how he was doing speaks to the way Kobe’s and Shaq’s relationship progressed.
O’Neal originally was an Arizona commit but switched to UCLA. He joined the program when Steve Alford was head coach. Alford was fired last year and Mick Cronin was hired in April as his replacement. O’Neal met with Cronin recently to inform him of the transfer decision.
O’Neal, who is the son of Shaquille O’Neal, took a medical redshirt as a freshman after doctors discovered he had a heart condition for which he underwent surgery. O’Neal was cleared to play this season but only appeared in 13 games for the Bruins. He averaged 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game.
Shareef O’Neal is leaving UCLA and plans to transfer.
O’Neal, the son of former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, said in a statement on Twitter that he has left UCLA. He did not specifically say in the Twitter note that he was going to transfer, but he talked about the “next chapter.”
Bruins head basketball coach Mick Cronin said he met with O’Neal on Tuesday and the big man shared his plans to transfer.
“After meeting with Shareef on Tuesday, he told me that he plans to transfer. We fully support his decision and are wishing him all the best.”
O’Neal took a medical redshirt as a freshman after doctors discovered he had a heart condition for which he underwent surgery. O’Neal was cleared to play this season but has only appeared in 13 games. He’s averaged 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game.
O’Neal originally was an Arizona commit but switched to UCLA. He joined the program when Steve Alford was head coach. Alford was fired last year and Cronin was hired in April.
Shaquille O’Neal’s son Shareef shared his plan on Twitter Friday to help young athletes in testing for heart issues.
Shareef, a freshman at UCLA, redshirted his first year with the program after testing revealed he had a heart issue that required surgery. He underwent heart surgery last year. Now that his life has been changed by the surgery, he said a year later that he wants to help young athletes in this regard.
When I get older I’m going to do a lot with heart research and find ways to create a system for HS and college athletes to get their hearts checked before participating in sports, I’ve gotten a lot of messages from young athletes who are dealing with heart issues and it’s sad
That’s thoughtful of O’Neal to want to help others so they get these serious health scares identified earlier in their lives. For O’Neal, it wasn’t until he stepped on campus at UCLA that his heart condition was discovered.
Now a redshirt freshman forward, O’Neal has played in nine games for the Bruins and is averaging 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
No amount of career accolades or championship rings will ever protect Shaquille O’Neal from being mocked over being one of the worst free-throw shooters the NBA has ever seen, and the Hall of Famer is still defending himself against those critics.
Earlier this week, Shaq’s son Shareef O’Neal had a funny Instagram post about him and his brother Shaqir being heckled by fans for missed free throws. Shaq commented that his boys should fire back by reminding the haters “you daddy was the best to ever do it.”