Shareef O’Neal has been trying to prove his doubters wrong ever since declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft, which led him to a Summer League stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.
His father — Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal — was among those who questioned Shareef’s decision to turn pro this year. The NBA great wanted his son to finish his college education first, but the LSU forward didn’t think he was in an environment that facilitated his growth as a player.
Shareef will play professional basketball after all, achieving his goal by signing a six-figure deal with the G League Ignite. Still, Lakers icon Robert Horry recently said on his podcast he isn’t sure O’Neal Jr. has what it takes to play serious basketball:
“I picked up my phone and I was getting ready to call Shaq like ‘Yo man, you gotta tell your son… he can’t be playing off the damn O’Neal name. He gotta go out there and play.’ You gotta put forth some more effort man,” Horry said. “You know Shareef’s such a nice kid, that I don’t know if he has that dog in him to go out there and take what he wants.”
Shareef has responded to Horry, saying his father has raised him to seize on the opportunities as they emerge. “I know this outta love and no disrespect!!! I got you Big Shot,” he tweeted.
“But you know who raised me, I don’t quit. Always been taught to go get it and take it. Been heading in the right step… like I said I got you! You’ll see.”
I know this outta love and no disrespect!!! I got you BIG SHOT🙏🏾 but you know who raised me , I don’t quit. Always been taught to go get it and take it . Been heading in the right step …like I said I got you! Youll see https://t.co/QmbciWH46c
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) August 3, 2022
Besides Shaq’s parenthood, Shareef also had the great Kobe Bryant encouraging him to pursue his dreams. “Whatever you want to do, don’t let anybody tell you you can’t do it,” the 6-foot-10 forward recalled Bryant saying.
Shareef averaged 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in four Las Vegas Summer League games for the Lakers.
Shareef appreciative of opportunity to play for Lakers in Summer League
Although Shareef didn’t get to extend his stay with the Lakers, he still appreciated the opportunity to don the purple and gold jersey in Las Vegas.
“Thank you Lakers for the opportunity! Thank everyone who supported too,” he tweeted after his last game for L.A.
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