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Shaquille O'Neal explains why he refuses to influence teen daughter's basketball career decisions

Shaq's daughter's basketball journey unfolds with a 'déjà vu parenting' approach, as he nurtures her potential while allowing her independence to shine.

Shaquille O'Neal explains why he refuses to influence teen daughter's basketball career decisions
Cover Image Source: NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille's At L.A. Live at LA Live on March 09, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images | Photo by Micheal Tullberg)

Shaquille O'Neal, popularly known as "Shaq," is a basketball personality who has been a household name for many decades. The famed player, known for his massive height and dominating physical presence, played from 1992 to 2011. He has won countless accolades in the sport and continues to have an active presence in modern pop culture. Interestingly enough, it seems that basketball skills run in the family as his youngest child, Me'Arah O'Neal, is also making her own name in the sport.

Image Source: Shaquille O'Neal attends the 44th Annual Sports Emmy Awards at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 22, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Image Source: Shaquille O'Neal attends the 44th Annual Sports Emmy Awards at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 22, 2023, in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

Some time back, his son Shareef participated in a college basketball season at UCLA along with two seasons at LSU before entering the NBA G League. Presently, his youngest son Shaqir plays as a redshirt junior with the Texas Southern Tigers. According to ESPN, his daughter Me'Arah, who stands at an impressive 6-foot-3, has been declared one of the top 40 recruits in the Class of 2024 recruitment rankings.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by ᴍᴇᴇᴢʏ. (@mearahoneal_)


 

Me'Arah shared her top prospects in an Instagram post with a caption that read, "Surreal... beyond grateful." Some of the listed teams included the Tennesse Volunteers, Baylor Bears and Florida Gators. But among all of them, the one option that stood out was her dad's college team, LSU, which she is considering. There was also an offer made by LSU Head Coach Kim Mulkey to the youngster back in April, a few weeks after she led the Tigers to their first National Championship victory.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by ᴍᴇᴇᴢʏ. (@mearahoneal_)


 

Other big names, such as Angel Reese and Flau'jae Johnson are also attempting to persuade Me'Arah to join the prestigious team. Despite so much attention being given to her decision, Shaq declines to impose a choice on her. In an interview with Insider, Shaq revealed: "I try not to get in the way. And the reason is I believe in déjà vu parenting."


 
 
 
 
 
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He recalled how he received many offers from reputed colleges such as Georgetown and North Carolina because of his talent for the sport. Even though his father would have liked for him to attend such reputed institutions, he allowed Shaq to decide for himself.

His decision to join LSU was a gut instinct and it proved to be fruitful for him, becoming the 1991 AP Player of the Year. In fact, his famous No. 33 jersey is still hung up in the rafters at the team's home arena, the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The same stadium also has a 20-foot-tall bronze statue of Shaq performing one of his famous dunks near the doors.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by ᴍᴇᴇᴢʏ. (@mearahoneal_)


 

Shaq's decision to give his daughter space makes sense because a similar choice by his own father worked out in the end. In the same interview, he spoke candidly, saying, "Of course, I'd love her to play for my alma mater. But I want her to go somewhere where she's gonna be loved, appreciated, and somewhere where they're gonna be able to showcase her talent." He concluded by saying that if LSU was able to provide her with an environment of growth, it would be good, but he would never force it on her.

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