Very few people who play collegiate sports make it to the professional level. This may be why NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal advised his son Shareef O’Neal to continue his college education over attending a pre-draft workout with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We kind of bump heads about this process,” O’Neal, 22, said at a video news conference, according to ESPN. In fact, the elder O’Neal “didn’t like the idea at all.”
“He wanted me to stay in school,” the younger O’Neal added. “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.”
Shareef, who has only played 37 games over the course of three seasons with two schools, UCLA and his father’s alma mater, Louisiana State University (LSU), didn’t have a storied college career.
He averaged 2.6 points on 40.5 percent shooting, 3.0 rebounds, and 0.4 blocks during his career. By comparison, Shaquille averaged 21.6 points on 61 percent shooting, 13.5 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game at LSU. Shaquille was the number one pick at the 1992 NBA draft.
Still,, Shareef feels he can make the jump to the pros.
“It sucks that he (Shaquille) didn’t like that idea, but I’m a grown man, I’m 22 years old, I can make my own decisions. It was right in front of my face. I’m not backing up from it. I’m going to go get it if I see it. That’s just how I’m built. I take everything the same way. I took my heart surgery the same way. Being cleared was right in front of me, being healthy was right in front of me, and I went for it. I’m not backing down from nobody. I know he’s an NBA legend, I know he’s my dad, but it was right in front of me, I had to go get it. So, if he likes it or not, it’s not really going to stop me from doing what I want to do.”