Shaq Quietly Steams Over Son Shareef O’Neal’s 2022 NBA Draft Plan

Sharea O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal’s son, attended a pre-NBA training session at Lakers on Tuesday, contrary to his father’s wishes.

Shaq – whose Lakers shirt No. 34 was retired by the team in 2013 – preferred his 22-year-old son to go to school, but Shareef says he is ready to jump in the NBA.

“We are sympathetic to this process,” junior O’Neal told reporters at the Lakers Training Center on Tuesday, two days before the 2022 NBA draft, adding that he had not asked his father for advice throughout the process.

Shareef, like his father, studied at LSU, but his story was much different from his father’s. He played for a total of 37 games in UCLA and LSU over three seasons due to a number of health problems – an average of 11 minutes, three rebounds and 2.6 points per game. Ta open heart surgery was performed (December 2018) in UCLA and was excluded from foot and ankle injuries for two seasons at LSU.

Shareef O’Neal at the 2022 G League Elite Camp on May 17, 2022.
Through the NBAE Getty Images

“He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to get better through it,” Shareef said of his father, who dominated LSU before going to Orlando in the 1992 NBA draft. But I’m not lying, we haven’t talked about it. I’m just going through it. He did not do any pre-draft training; he just got straight on [Orlando Magic]so it’s a different grind.

“So, he didn’t want me to do that, and I know he probably doesn’t want me to say that, but I’m sorry. We’re both adults, we’ll get over it.”

Shaq did not graduate from university before entering the NBA, but eventually returned to LSU to earn his degree. He then earned a master’s degree online from the University of Phoenix and a doctorate from Barry University.

The Lakers have no choice in the NBA draft on Thursday night, but they have continued their pre-draft training with young talent, including Jordan Hall (St. Joseph’s), Cole Swider (Syracuse), Orlando Robinson (Fresno State), Kyler Edwards (Houston) and Isaiah Whaley (UConn).

Shaquille O'Neal during the Governors Ball Music Festival at Citi Field on June 11, 2022.
Shaquille O’Neal during the Governors Ball Music Festival at Citi Field on June 11, 2022.
For the Getty Images Governors Ball

“It seems to me that my story is completely different now,” Shareef replied when asked if he felt any pressure because of his father’s legacy. “I went through some things he didn’t go through. He was the first choice for the draft. I had to grind somehow to get here. I had to grind a lot. I had to go through a few things over the last four years – foot injuries, heart surgery – and I doesn’t really seem to be in his shadow.

O’Neal – a 6-foot, 10-pound and 215-pound striker – participated in the G League Elite Prospect Camp last month.

“I felt like I didn’t get enough opportunities in college. I didn’t feel like myself in college,” he said.[The invite] opened many doors for me. … I feel like it really brought me back and showed me a little bit of what I can do. And when the teams started calling me to train, I told me, “Man, that’s what I want to do.” I think I’m here, it’s right in front of me, so go do it. So I kept working. ”

Shareef O'Neal at the 2022 G League Elite Camp on May 17, 2022.
Shareef O’Neal at the 2022 G League Elite Camp on May 17, 2022.
Through the NBAE Getty Images

O’Neal said Shaq “didn’t like the idea at all” when his son decided to push into the NBA. There is a good chance that Shareef will be in the draft on Thursday night and have to join the league as a free agent.

“It’s bullshit that he didn’t like the idea, but I’m an adult man, 22 years old, and I can make my own decisions,” Shareef said. “It was right in front of my face. I won’t step back from it. I’ll go after it when I see it. That’s exactly how I was built. I’ll do everything the same way. I did my heart surgery the same way.

“The harvest is right in front of me, the whole being was right in front of me and I went towards it. I’m not going to back away from anyone. I know he’s an NBA legend, I know he’s my father, but it was right in front of me, I I had to go after it, so if he likes it or not, it doesn’t really stop me from doing what I want to do.

Shaquille O'Neal after being selected 1st in the 1992 NBA draft.
Shaquille O’Neal after being selected 1st in the 1992 NBA draft.
Through the NBAE Getty Images

Shareef announced the Lakers facility, where he wore No. 6 during pre-draft training.

“Hopefully LeBron [James] it doesn’t go crazy, “he said. “It simply came to our notice then [No. 6] practice wearing a shirt.

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