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When a man doesn’t have that dog in him, he lacks the hunger to achieve greatness.
From the jump, greatness appeared to be the standard for Shareef O’Neal — son of Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal — as he worked his way up to the pros carrying the last name of an NBA great.
Many assumed the former UCLA Bruin and LSU baller would carry some of the special attributes that made Big Diesel’s career. But Shareef’s start has been opposite those expectations, inspiring critics to speak out on the young fella’s development.
One of those critics was seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry — who previously played with Shaq on the Lakers.
Horry went on record and admitted that he hasn’t seen much of that dog in O’Neal — also throwing in a tacit spar about Shareef riding the coattails of his last name.
In a segment from his Big Shot Bob podcast, Horry said the following about young Shareef:
“I picked up my phone, and I was getting ready to call Shaq like, ‘Yo man, you gotta tell your son… he can’t be playing off the damn O’Neal name. He gotta go out there and play.’ You gotta put forth some more effort man.
“You know Shareef’s such a nice kid, that I don’t know if he has that dog in him to go out there and take what he wants.”
Shareef caught the comments on Twitter and quoted them, with a message included for Horry:
“I know this outta love and no disrespect!!! I got you BIG SHOT but you know who raised me,” Shareef tweeted,” I don’t quit. Always been taught to go get it and take it. Been heading in the right step …like I said I got you! You’ll see.”
Though the 22-year-old O’Neal still has time and resources to develop into an NBA-caliber player, he’ll need to dramatically improve upon his current body of work.
In his four years between UCLA and LSU, Shareef averaged 2.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and shot 40.5 percent from the field. He was a medical redshirt in 2018 after undergoing surgery related to a heart condition. He decided to forego another year of college and declared for the 2022 NBA Draft.
On July 25, O’Neal signed a six-figure deal with the G-League Unite. Shareef played six games for the Lakers as a member of their NBA Summer League team — averaging 4.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in Vegas, and shooting 44.4 percent from the field.