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"Your father is an idiot. Your father was a monster on the court. You’re not like that.” — Shaquille O'Neal's sage advice to his son Shareef O'Neal

Shaq has some brutal yet useful advice for his son Shareef.
Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal and Los Angeles Lakers forward Shareef O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal and Shareef O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is a keen observer of his son’s journey to the NBA. Shareef O’Neal failed to get picked in the 2022 NBA Draft, so he’s trekking through the G League path. It’s a matter of wait-and-see if Shareef indeed makes it. Throughout this journey, Shaq has shared some helpful advice with him.

Not the same

Shaq’s advice is something we’ve heard from wise men time and time again: don’t try to be like someone else. Just go and be yourself. It’s a futile attempt to try and become one of the most dominant players in NBA history. Shaq’s advice is not an insult to Shareef’s abilities. Rather, it’s just the stone-cold truth.

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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,’” Shaq said, per USA Today.

O’Neal seems to have accepted the fact that his son is determined to make it to the league. Just a few months ago, Shareef shared that Shaq told him to pursue his studies rather than try to make it to the NBA. Of all the people in the world, Shaq knows what it takes to make it to the NBA. Unfortunately, he believes his son lacks the tools to be an NBA player.

“I had to make it.”

It’s definitely heartbreaking to hear your very own father swat your hopes down. But we have to remember that Shaq is also coming from a different place. While his road to the NBA seemed like a walk in the park, Big Diesel shared that he had to strive as hard as possible to make it. Getting into the NBA was his Plan A. There was no Plan B.

Hopefully, that takes the pressure off because I was crazy. I had to make it. He don’t really have to make it. But I had to make it. So I ran through walls because my motivation was different. I only had one thing: I had to buy my mom a house. Even if I just played for two years, as long as that lady got a new house, I was happy. He has to find his motivation and go for it,” O’Neal said.

Shareef is now with the NBA G League Ignite. Unlike your typical G League team, the Ignite squad competes in exhibition games outside the G League’s traditional scheduling. The team is comprised of elite prospects and has produced NBA players like Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Jaden Hardy, among others. Shareef has a chance to be part of this exclusive list and finally fulfill his dream of becoming an NBA player. 

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