Shareef O’Neal has definitely learned a lot from his father, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
Not only has his dad taught him so much about the game of basketball, but he has also taught him about fighting hard and believing in himself.
O’Neal needed that belief a few years ago, as he recovered from open-heart surgery in 2018.
Speaking to Playmaker, O’Neal revealed the words of encouragement that his father gave him as he lay in the hospital bed.
“If you come back from this, you the baddest man on the planet,” Shaq told his young son, and that was all he needed to hear to start fighting hard.
"If you come back from this, you the baddest MF on the planet."
— Playmaker (@playmaker) September 26, 2023
O’Neal suffered from a congenital heart defect that caused one of his arteries to grow in the wrong place.
This is a very serious ailment and costs many people their lives.
Thankfully, doctors were able to manage the problem in O’Neal and get him healthy.
But the road to recovery is always long after open-heart surgery.
However, O’Neal said that the support of his father and other family members inspired him and got him on his feet in no time at all.
It was assumed that he’d spend about three weeks in recovery after the surgery but O’Neal was up and moving around in as little as eight days.
He was able to make a full recovery and return to playing basketball.
Since then, he has spent his time performing in the NBA’s G League, signing with the G League Ignite.
Although he hasn’t regularly played for an NBA team like his father did, O’Neal is healthy again and happy on the court.
And that’s partly due to the way his dad inspired him during such a tough time.NEXT: Paul George Explains His Mentality Entering New Season