Shareef O’Neal, son of Shaq, works out for Wizards, Lakers subsequent

WASHINGTON — LSU ahead Shareef O’Neal visited the Wizards for a pre-draft exercise on Friday and, given the timing, it could have been comprehensible if he noticed it as simply one other step alongside the way in which. It was after he labored out for the Miami Warmth and proper earlier than he’s set to work out for the Los Angeles Lakers. These are the 2 groups his NBA legend father, Shaquille, received championships with whereas Shareef was rising up.

Shareef, although, was utterly current and grateful to be standing the place he was as a result of not way back taking part in basketball, a lot much less having an opportunity to make the NBA, it wasn’t attainable. He needed to bear open-heart surgical procedure in 2018 after the UCLA medical workers seen an irregularity in his coronary heart his when he arrived on campus as a freshman.

Shareef’s life was in danger, however he made it by means of the process and has now been given a beautiful second probability to stay out the dream he is had since he was a child.

“I did not assume this may ever occur, having the ability to do NBA exercises. This 12 months I obtained higher and I awoke someday and I used to be like ‘I wish to go to the NBA.’ I had that dream going into highschool, however sitting in that surgical procedure I wasn’t actually frightened about basketball. I simply needed to get wholesome,” he mentioned.

“In any case this I’ve went by means of, to make it to the NBA can be a dream come true. I might make my household proud and likewise be a job mannequin for the youngsters who went by means of coronary heart surgical procedure.”

Shareef performed 13 video games at UCLA earlier than transferring to LSU, his father’s alma mater. Simply getting again to taking part in in any respect wasn’t straightforward, however a former Wizards participant helped him alongside the way in which.

Jeff Inexperienced additionally had open coronary heart surgical procedure and has gone on to take pleasure in an extended and profitable NBA profession. The Georgetown College and Northwestern Excessive Faculty alum has suggested Shareef after the process.

“He instructed me to maintain going. Seeing him play after that, that was an actual massive inspiration. I name him Uncle Jeff Inexperienced. Shoutout to him, he introduced up my spirits quite a bit after I talked to him,” Shareef mentioned.

As he spoke, Shareef flashed the smile of a mild big, identical to his father who was not solely one of many best gamers to ever decide up a basketball, however has transcended the game due to his infectious character. Shareef says his dad his has given him loads of recommendation alongside the way in which, but in addition expressed the worth of determining issues on his personal. Shaq says that in some circumstances he discovered extra throughout his personal taking part in profession by trial-and-error slightly than by being taught.

Shaq has taught Shareef loads, nevertheless. Shareef remembers Shaq teaching his AAU crew reverse Bradley Beal, whose crew Brad Beal Elite has develop into a powerhouse on the circuit. Shareef says their video games have been such a giant deal that followers lined up out the door and down the block. And the video games have been tense with raucous atmospheres and bodily play.

Shareef noticed Beal understanding on the Wizards’ facility and approached him to say hello.

“Bradley’s been my boy. He is seen me since I used to be in highschool. He is actual cool and I like his sport,” Shareef mentioned.

Shareef mentioned he measured in at 6-foot-11 on the Wizards exercise, an inch taller than he was listed at LSU final 12 months. He ‘s not fairly as tall as his father his, who’s 7-foot-1, however he ‘s not far off.

Shareef, although, must achieve some muscle to really resemble Shaq, who was essentially the most bodily dominant participant the sport has ever seen. Within the early 2000s, NBA defenders had nearly as good an opportunity at stopping him as a seal does evading an amazing white shark.

Shareef will head house for just a few days earlier than going to the place formally generally known as the Staples Middle, the place his father received three championships and dominated the early 2000s alongside the late Kobe Bryant. He’ll stroll the identical hallways, play on the identical court docket and placed on the identical colours his dad his as soon as did.

“I mainly grew up in that enviornment. I used to be born, then my dad and Kobe received [championships]. Kobe was like a mentor to me. Clearly, then my dad. I have been round that health club since I used to be born, so I do know that place just like the again of my hand,” he mentioned

“However I take all the pieces someday at a time. At this time, I am targeted on the Wizards. I am not frightened about every other exercises proper now. After I get to LA, I will be targeted on the Lakers. It may be enjoyable taking part in within the health club that my dad received championships in. It may be enjoyable.”

There might be some pure feelings for Shareef when he works out for the Lakers. However whether or not it is them or one other crew, he is simply in search of an opportunity to maintain his basketball dream going.

“Having the ability to play the game once more and being wholesome retains me motivated. On daily basis I take off my shirt and have a look at the scar and that retains me motivated,” he mentioned.

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