This years NBA draft just got interesting. Shareef O'Neal, who has faced some health issues pursuing a career in basketball, revealed during a NBA pre-draft workout for the Lakers that his father, NBA legend Shaqueel O'Neal, did not want him to enter the NBA draft. He stated that his father, Shaq, felt he should finish his education yet Shareef couldn't pass on the opportunity in front of him.
“We kind of bump heads about this process,” the 22-year-old began. “He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself through this.”
Shareef revealed that he had to "keep it real" and loves his dad but had to chose his own path.
“He didn’t do any pre-draft workouts; he just got straight on the [Orlando Magic], so it’s a different grind,” Shareef said. “So, he didn’t want me to do this, and I know he probably doesn’t want me saying this, but sorry. We’re both grown. We’ll get past it.”
Shareef, who was continuously asked about having a NBA legend as a father to help him along in the process, revealed that his experience entering the draft vs his father's are completely different. Shareef is doing workouts for teams while Shaq didn't do any when he entered the draft.
“I feel like me and him have a whole different story now. I went through some things that he didn’t go through. He was the No. 1 pick in the draft. I kind of had to grind to get here. I had to grind a lot,” he said. “I had to go through some stuff these past four years — foot injuries, heart surgeries — and I don’t really look to be in his shadow.”
“I know it’s always going to be there, the comparison,” Shareef continued. “Every kid is going to get compared to their dad who does the same thing as them. So that’s going to be there. It doesn’t bother me.”
Players Shareef can relate to are Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and even GP2 who all just won an NBA championship together. Best of luck to him!