Growing up with a famous father has its ups and downs, according to Shareef O’Neal.

Shareef O’Neal, the second oldest son of Shaquille O’Neal and currently a power forward for the NBA G League Ignite, disclosed in a recent interview with Essence Magazine that he and his siblings decided to conceal their father’s identity to prevent them from being treated differently.

Shareef explained:

“The thing about me that not a lot of people know is nobody knew who my dad was at none of my schools until I was about 15 or 16 years old. All the parent-teacher conferences, it was just my mom who came. It was a set plan. We just kind of hid it so people didn’t treat us differently.”

“But when basketball season started coming around, people started filming the games. There was a small game, 8 o’clock in the morning, my dad came, and someone happened to film him. They posted it on YouTube, and that was it after that. Everyone knew.”

“I feel like being the son of an athlete of his caliber made me grow up a lot faster. I got to see things most young kids wouldn’t see. I got to be behind the scenes of the NBA life and that famous lifestyle.”

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Amirah O’Neal, Shareef’s sister, added that having Shaq as their father made growing up “fun.”

It was wonderful to grow up with my dad, Shaquille O’Neal. There were some good things and negative things, but because I grew up with two wonderful parents, carving out and maintaining my own path has been relatively simple.

Shareef, Amirah, Myles, Shaqir, and Me’arah O’Neal recently joined forces for a Silk commercial, rocking the recognizable milk mustaches from the ’90s as a nod to their late father.

Amirah expressed her enthusiasm for working on this cause and honoring her father.

Together with my brothers, working on the Silk Nextmilk campaign was such a wonderful experience. I had a great night, and I’m happy that my siblings and I were able to get together and honor my dad’s advertisement.

Related: Shaquille O’Neal Explains Why His Collaboration With JAY-Z, Nas, And Biggie Never Materialized

Check out Shareef’s highlights below.


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