“What people don’t know is — I know I have a Giannis with a jump shot,” the elder O’Neal said. “That’s how I raised him. I have a Giannis Antetokounmpo with a jump shot, but people don’t know. So, hopefully he gets to go to a place where he can showcase his talent so people can see who he really is.”
That’s an optimistic outlook from the Hall of Famer. He’s a father that wants the best for his son, so you can’t blame him for a little hyperbole.
Shareef is listed at 6 feet 10 and 220 pounds. He has NBA size, and if he has the ability to consistently shoot the ball and attack the basket, he will be on an NBA roster. Size and skill are crucial in today’s NBA.
Antetokounmpo was not the 7 foot chiseled, skilled specimen he is now. He worked tirelessly on his body and his game to become the unstoppable two-way force he is now.
But the elder O’Neal likely wasn’t comparing his son to who Giannis is now as a player. He more likely was saying, Shareef is of a similar build and can shoot the ball.
As human beings we can’t help making comparisons, that’s what we do. There needs to be some frame of reference. Shaq sees early Giannis as a tall player without a jumper. He believes his son can shoot, as he’s helped to train him to be that.
Currently, the 22-year-old Shareef is in the NCAA’s transfer portal after spending two seasons at Louisiana State University, his dad’s alma mater. Before playing for LSU, Shareef was at UCLA and originally committed to play at the University of Arizona.
The younger O’Neal was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect affecting the coronary artery. Shareef had open-heart surgery in October 2018 to correct the abnormality.
What will be important is for Shareef to find success wherever he lands next. Four different schools in five years doesn’t look good. Despite the fact that there were circumstances outside of his control.
He will have to make the best of whatever the situation as he will have limited control. In the episode Shaq said he hopes his son finds an opportunity where he can succeed. The thing is, he’ll have to succeed wherever he has. Regardless of where, who the coach is, etc.
Fair or not, Shareef’s last name means people will expect a lot from him. If he flames out at his next school he won’t be able to blame coaches or anything else.
It won’t be any different if and when he gets to the league. He has no control over where he’s drafted. The league has poorly run teams, bad coaches, and poor player development systems.
In order for Shareef to be all he can be, he has to put in the work.