Shareef O’Neal has been part of the Los Angeles Lakers family his whole life as he was born in 2000 — the year his father, Shaquille, and Kobe Bryant won their first title with the Purple and Gold.
Shareef played with the Lakers during the Las Vegas Summer League after going undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft. But his time with L.A. has likely come to an end after he clocked in just 11.5 minutes in four games, averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.
After the Summer League ended, Shareef thanked the organization for the opportunity to don the jersey once worn by his father and Bryant — with whom he developed a close relationship growing up. In an interview with Summer League reporter Emily Austin, the 22-year-old said the late Lakers legend would always support him in moments of adversity and doubt:
When I was young, he always told me ‘Whatever you want to do, don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it.’ I’ve always thought about that. People probably heard that before, but this is different hearing it from someone like that. And, you know, he was one person who always checked in with me. Every single day after my surgery, he’d always message me, ‘How’re you doing today?’ He always looked out for me, made sure I was good. Anytime I needed to get in the gym, he’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, you can call me you, you know where I am.’ If he was busy, you know, he always looked out for sure, me and my siblings.
Shareef declared for the draft after an unlucky college career, hampered by heart surgery and a foot injury.
The 6-foot-10 forward felt this summer was the right time to turn pro and worked out for several teams during the pre-draft process — even though dad Shaquille disapproved of his decision.
Kings’ Keegan Murray Named Summer League MVP; Lakers miss out on individual honors
Sacramento Kings rookie Keegan Murray has been named the MVP of this year’s Vegas Summer League. Murray also headlines the All-Summer League First Team that also features Quentin Grimes, Tari Eason, Cam Thomas and Sandro Mamukelashvili.
None of the young Lakers received individual honors after the Purple and Gold finished the tournament in 12th.
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