Shaquille O'Neal's Son, Shareef, Says His Dad Doesn't Want Him to Enter NBA Draft: We 'Bump Heads'

·3 min read

Shareef O'Neal participated in a pre-draft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, but the eldest son of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal revealed that his father "didn't want" his son to meet with his former team.

The 22-year-old told ESPN that he and his father "kind of butt heads about" him entering the 2022 NBA Draft.

"He wanted me to stay in school," Shareef told the outlet. "He knows I'm working out with teams. But I'm not going to lie, we ain't talked about this. I'm kind of just going through it."

Shareef is currently the power forward for the LSU Tigers, the same team his father played for before the Orlando Magic selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 1992 NBA Draft.

But Shareef knows that making it into the NBA won't be as seamless for him as it was for his father.

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Emma McIntyre/Getty Shaquille O’Neal (left) with son Shareef O’Neal

According to ESPN, Shareef averaged just 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds during the 2021-22 season at LSU. Comparatively, Shaquille averaged 21.6 points and 13.5 rebounds for the Tigers during his time there.

"I went through some things that he didn't go through," Shareef noted. "He was the No. 1 pick in the draft," Shareef explained. "I kind of had to grind to get here. I had to grind a lot. I had to go through some stuff these past four years -- foot injuries, heart surgeries," he revealed.

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Shaquille O'Neal (L) poses with his son Shareef O'Neal (R) at the Jordan Brand Future of Flight Showcase on January 25, 2018 in Studio City, California.
Shaquille O'Neal (L) poses with his son Shareef O'Neal (R) at the Jordan Brand Future of Flight Showcase on January 25, 2018 in Studio City, California.

Cassy Athena/Getty Shareef and Shaquille O'Neal

Ankle and foot injuries have plagued Shareef, whose health has been a major setback to his performance. As a freshman at UCLA, Shareef underwent open-heart surgery to treat an ailment in 2019.

"He didn't do any pre-draft workouts; he just got straight on the [Orlando Magic], so it's a different grind," Shareef told ESPN of his father's journey to the NBA.

Shareef said Shaquille "didn't want" him to report to Tuesday's team workout and "probably doesn't want" his son to make their disagreement public.

The Lakers posted a photo of Shareef donning their iconic purple and gold colors following his workout on Tuesday.

"Thank you for having me," Shareef wrote in his reply to the team's official account.

"I know he probably doesn't want me saying this, but sorry. We're both grown, we'll get past it," Shareef told ESPN, adding that he wanted to "better himself through" pre-draft workouts with teams in the league.

Shareef is embracing the "different grind" he's experienced compared to his father, telling ESPN, "I don't really look to be in his shadow."