Most NBA fans should be aware of the complex and difficult childhood that Shaquille O’Neal went through. His biological father named Joseph Toney abandoned his family and was even arrested due to drug possession and forging checks.
As a result of this, Shaq’s mother Lucille had to raise him singlehandedly. Things got better for them when Philp Harrison came into their lives and took over the role of a father for a young Shaq. This clearly filled up the void of not having a father figure and someone to rely on for O’Neal.
Many years later, the NBA legend reconnected with his birth father and rekindled their relationship. He was unable to do so earlier since Harrison wanted them to have no involvement. O’Neal was interviewed and asked to share more about the emotions he felt toward his biological father. Let us find out what he had to say.
Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t blame Joseph Toney for abandoning his family
It might interest people to know that Shaq’s biological father was quite a good high school basketball player and sought after. However, Toney also had extensive criminal tendencies and constantly found himself on the wrong side of the law. It is unclear how he and Lucille O’Neal met in the first place. Nonetheless, they clearly did.
According to the reports, Toney left because he was trying to avoid being arrested. That clearly didn’t work out as he ended up spending 6 years in prison due to his crimes. After he got his act together, Joseph and Shaq reunited many years later. By this time, the Lakers legend was a fully grown adult and a father to his own children. He shared how his interaction with Toney went down and his own residual feelings over the entire ordeal.
“He (Toney) says I’m sorry. I say you don’t need to be sorry cuz when you live by the principles of you can’t judge, everybody has their problems. He was young and a basketball player, a phenom and he had to do what he had to do so I don’t wanna hear the you wasn’t around. I had a great life. Everything that happened was supposed to happen for Shaquille O’Neal.”
Although Joseph’s incompetencies led to Shaq struggling a lot when he was a child, O’Neal was mature enough to realize that Toney was quite a flawed man and shouldn’t be judged for the past. Especially since things worked out incredibly well for Shaquille O’Neal and his mother.