Shaquille O’Neal is a huge success on the whole. The big man utilized his unusual mix of size and talent to dominate the competition throughout his tenure in the NBA, winning four championships and one MVP award. The Diesel, on the other hand, did not limit himself to basketball. He’s acted, rapped, marketed everything from pizza to car insurance, and amassed a huge financial worth in the process. Now it seems that he has his sights set on something else.
A post on Instagram posed the question of who would win a game involving O’Neal, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and their respective kids. Shaq, on the other hand, is ready to go beyond the hypothetical and compete for father-son supremacy with his former colleagues.
The apple doesn’t typically fall far from the tree, as the cliché goes. While this isn’t always the case, it seems that O’Neal, Wade, and James passed on some athletic skills to their children.
Shaq established himself as one of the most dominating big men in basketball history before becoming a staple in every other ad. Shareef, his son, seemed to be on track to follow in his father’s footsteps, committing to UCLA as a four-star recruit. However, a heart ailment and injuries have hampered the young forward’s career, casting doubt on his ability to play basketball after college. Shaqir O’Neal, O’Neal’s youngest son, pledged to Texas Southern in May 2021.
Wade spent the most of his NBA career in Miami, where he won three titles. Across 17 professional seasons, the guard showed he could do just about everything on the floor, averaging 22.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Zaire, his son, is a combo guard in the same style, but the former Sierra Canyon High School standout has yet to garner any NCAA notice.
Finally, LeBron’s skill is undeniable. While the Los Angeles Lakers great has had his share of detractors over the years, his résumé is hard to dispute. King James also has a son, LeBron James Jr., popularly known as Bronny, who has already gotten a lot of attention in the media. Although it is unclear how much of this is just hype, some informed observers believe the adolescent is the genuine thing.
In the fight for father-son dominance, Shaq is ready to go off against his old colleagues.
| Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Shaquille O’Neal celebrates winning the NBA title in 2001.
If you’re a sports fan who spends any time on social media, you’ve undoubtedly seen plenty of postings pondering how to create a team on a $15 budget or debating who would win a hypothetical match-up between the greatest players from various periods. While such images are typically excellent for some mindless entertainment, it seems that one of them grabbed Shaq’s eye.
A recent Instagram picture from The Best Highlights questioned whether Shaquille and Shareef O’Neal, Dwyane and Zaire Wade, or LeBron and Bronny James would win a two-on-two tournament. After seeing the message, the big guy was obliged to repost it on his own account.
Shaq, on the other hand, didn’t just repost the image. He added his own comment to the photo, encouraging his old colleagues and their kids to play basketball.
The Big Aristotle wrote, “Set it up me and [Shareef O’Neal] and [Shaqir O’Neal] ain’t afraid.”
Shaquille O’Neal would undoubtedly still be dominating in a two-on-two matchup.
Traditional big guys in the NBA have become extinct in the contemporary day. In a hypothetical two-on-two competition, though, Shaquille and Shareef O’Neal’s stature would still give them a significant edge.
Shaq stood 7-foot-1 during his playing days, but Shareef is listed as 6-foot-10 on LSU’s official roster. That would create a mismatch in a game versus Wade or LeBron and their respective kids, with one of the O’Neals always having an edge on the low block. Shareef even hinted to it on his father’s Instagram page, writing, “Maaan what?? Every time, I send it to you in the mail.” He also included a weeping laughing emoji and predicted that he’d have 21 assists by the end of the game.
While one might argue that mismatch would work in the other direction, with neither Shaq nor Shareef being able to control their opponent on the perimeter, Shaq and Shareef would have an edge on the boards. It would only take one miss to put the ball in their hands, since they would be favored to collect any rebound. From there, their low-post presence and winner’s ball would very certainly be enough to get them the win.
It goes without saying, though, that this hypothetical father-son competition is unlikely to come place anytime soon. King James has larger fish to fry for the next several years, at least.
Basketball-Reference provided the statistics.
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