Shaquille O’Neal has been questioned a lot about the progress and development of his son Shareef O’Neal. As NBA fans might be aware, Shareef is the eldest son of the 4x NBA champion and is currently 23 years old. At that age, most players have already developed enough to make it into the league. However, Shareef has struggled to live up to expectations and has underperformed.
Although this isn’t the end yet, some have already deemed him to be a failure considering that there are certain expectations that come with his surname. Be that as it may, when asked about it Shaq had quite an interesting perspective to share. Let us try to understand the situation and his side of it.
Shaquille O’Neal proclaims that Shareef O’Neal can never be like him
Just like Bronny James faces the limelight due to him being the son of LeBron James, Shareef undergoes the same thing being the son of Shaq. This would make sense since he is listed as an impressive 6’10 and has clearly gotten the better part of his father’s genetics.
However, that isn’t the whole story. Some of us might be aware that Shareef had to undergo a dangerous open-heart surgery when he was 18 years old. That slowed down his progress and return to the court to an immense rate.
Moreover, the fact still remains that Shaq’s abilities on the court were inhuman. When interviewed by FTW USA Today, he revealed how a conversation between him and his children went down.
“But I tell my kids all the time: ‘I’m an Amazonian that walks through the jungle. I’m crazy. Your path will never be like my path. You’ll have to choose your own path. However you’ll make it, you’ll make it.’ He decided to go early. He had a good summer league and he will be in the G League. He still has a chance to fulfill his dream.”
Shaq certainly makes a valid point. After all, he was pushed and trained extensively by his stepfather. Something that might not be the same for his children. He went on to bring the point home by concluding that being an O’Neal is somewhat of a two-edged sword.
“I tell him all the time: ‘You are never going to be me. Don’t let people tell you that you’re me because you’re not. Your father is crazy. Your father is an idiot. Your father was a monster on the court. You’re not like that. Develop your game. Develop your style. It’s fortunate and unfortunate that you’ll have to live with that name. But create your own way.’ Hopefully, that takes the pressure off because I was crazy.”
Since the NBA legend knows what it took to dominate at the highest level, he certainly doesn’t blame his children for struggling. Rather he chooses to encourage them to move on and attempts to reduce the pressure on their shoulders.