The talented son of NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal rejected his famous father trying to pursue a professional career in the difficult way.
The son of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal, attended a pre-NBA Draft training session at the LA Lakers this week against his father’s wishes.
Shaq – whose No. 34 Lakers jersey was retired from the team in 2013 – chose to keep his 22-year-old son in college, but Sharef insists he is ready to dive into the NBA. New York Post References.
“We are facing this process,” the youngest O’Neal told reporters Wednesday (AEST) – two days before the 2022 NBA draft – at the Lakers training center, adding that he had not relied on his father for advice. . throughout the process.
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Sharef, like his father, attended Louisiana State University (LSU), but had a very different story from his father. He played a total of 37 games in three seasons with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and LSU due to some health issues – and averaged 11 minutes, three rebounds and 2.6 points per game.
He underwent open heart surgery during his first year (2018) at UCLA and was out of action with leg and ankle injuries during his two seasons at LSU.
“She wanted me to stay in school. “I wanted to improve myself through that,” Sharif said of his father – who dominated LSU before moving No. 1 to Orlando in the 1992 NBA Draft.
“He knows I work with teams. But I’m not going to lie, we’ve not talked about it. I just get through it. He did not do any training. He just went straight to (Orlando Magic), so the reason is different.
“It simply came to our notice then. I do not know. We both grew up, we will overcome it “.
Shaq did not graduate from college before joining the NBA, but ended up returning to LSU to complete his degree. He then received a postgraduate degree from the University of Phoenix online and a PhD from the University of Bari.
The Lakers have no options in the NBA 2022 draft on Friday (AEST), but continued to train before the draft with young talent such as Jordan Hall, Cole Swinder, Orlando Robinson, Keiler Edwards and Isaiah Wow.
“I feel like he and I have a completely different story now,” Sharef said when asked if he felt pressured by his father’s inheritance.
“I went through some things that he did not go through. It was the No. 1 choice in the Draft. I had to grind a bit to get here. I had to grind a lot. “I had to go through some things over the last four years – leg injuries, heart surgery – and I don’t really seem to be in his shadow.”
Shareef – a power forward of 208 cm and 97 kg – participated in the prospective camp G League Elite last month.
“I felt I did not have enough opportunities in college. “I did not feel like I was in college,” he said. “(The invitation) opened many doors for me. . I feel like he really brought me back and showed me a little bit of what I can do.
“And from the moment I started receiving calls from teams to train, I said, ‘Dude, that’s what I want to do.’ I mean, here I am, right in front of me, so just go ahead. So I kept working. “
Sharef said Shaq “did not like the idea at all” when his son decided to push the NBA. It is a great chance that Saif will be out of retirement on Friday and will have to enter the league as a free agent.
“It sucks that he did not like the idea, but I’m an adult, I’m 22 years old, I can make my own decisions,” Sharef said. “It was right in front of my face. I do not support this.
“I’m going to get it if I see it. This is exactly how I am built. I take them all the same way. I did heart surgery the same way.
“Being clean was right in front of me, being healthy was right in front of me and I did it. I do not do behind anyone.
“I know he’s an NBA legend, I know he’s my dad, but he was right in front of me, I had to go get him. So, whether he likes it or not, he’s not going to really stop me from doing what I want to do. “
Saif referred to the Lakers’ facility, where he wore No. 6 during pre-draft training.
“Hopefully LeBron (James) will not be angry,” he said. “I wear his (No. 6) training jersey”.
This story first appeared in the New York Post and was reproduced with permission