According to Shams Charania, Shareef O’Neal, the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, will play for G League Ignite in the upcoming season. The junior O’Neal will sign a contract worth six figures, though terms are not yet known.
The 6-foot-10, big man is a highly sought-after high school prospect and chose UCLA over Arizona after initially committing to play for them. He had open heart surgery after a diagnosis revealed he had a congenital cardiac ailment that prevented him from playing.
After playing for the Lakers in Summer League, Shareef O’Neal – the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal – is signing a six-figure contract with the NBA G League Ignite, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 25, 2022
He played minimally for one season at UCLA before moving to LSU, where his father was a standout in the 1990s, even though he was eventually given the all-clear to return to the court. After spending two seasons with Baton Rouge, where he also played sparingly because of foot and ankle ailments, he decided to enter the draft against his father’s desires.
“He wanted me to stay in school,” O’Neal said. “I wanted to better myself through this. 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. He didn’t do any pre-draft workouts; he just got straight on the [Orlando Magic], so it’s a different grind.
“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 has a lot of well-wishers, including former Lakers head coach Byron Scott, who predicts that Shareef can play in the NBA like his father if he fixes a few flaws in his game. “I think he looked a little bit out of place,” Scott said of O’Neal’s Summer League play. “He wasn’t ready. I think he still has a little ways to go. I think the talent is there. Obviously, the athleticism is there.”