Shareef O’Neal announced on his Instagram yesterday that he’d be missing all of the ’18-’19 season due a serious heart issue that requires surgery.
With fans who’ve been watching him grow over the years into one of the most interesting high school basketball prospects in recent years, it was a sad moment.
“I am very blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last breath,” O’Neal later wrote on Instagram.
“I want to thank god for looking out for me, I want to thank UCLA, my teammates and most importantly my family … this is just a small bump on the road and I gotta push through it.”
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Recently I found out I had a serious heart issue … I am very blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last breathe .. I will not be able to participate in sports this year but I will be back in no time … I want to thank God for looking out for me , I want to thank UCLA , my teammates and most importantly my family … this is just a small bump on the road and I gotta push through it .. I am very down about not being able to do sport I love .. I really wanted this year I felt like I was at my best but this is just a minor setback.. my health is most important over everything .. like I said .. I WILL BE BACK.. thank you ❤️❤️❤️
The standout freshman at UCLA and son of 4 -time NBA Champion, Shaquille O’Neal, was a four-star recruit coming out of college and is a rare combination of size and skill.
While no powerhouse like his dad, Shareef’s small frame had length and he knew how to play with touch.
Now, the UCLA basketball team is confirming he’ll have to take a medical redshirt season but remain enrolled in classes during the 2018-19 academic year. The team said in a statement:
“The UCLA men’s basketball program completely supports Shareef and his family as he gets this issue resolved.”
Although the news tragic, the outpouring of support and how quickly so many have galvanized to his side shows that basketball, though very competitive, is a fraternity more than ever.
.@cjbycookie and I will be praying for Shareef O'Neal, son of Shaquille O'Neal, as he undergoes open heart surgery soon.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 28, 2018
Goes deeper then basketball. Shareef O’Neal will have heart surgery, miss 2018-19 season.
Praying for a safe and healthy recovery for Shareef.
— Jake (@jakeweingarten) September 28, 2018
Thank you guys for all the wonderful messages.. I appreciate every single one of you!
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) September 28, 2018
While some may think they are just athletes who need to shut-up and dribble, if anything, basketball players have proven that they are multi-talented creatives who care a great deal about each other.
Blazers guard C.J. McCollum has a podcast, LeBron opened a school, and all summer some of the most heated playoff and regular season rivals play pick-up basketball and workout with each other all summer.
O’Neal, 18, signed with UCLA earlier this year after initially committing to Arizona, 27.6 points and 17.3 rebounds during his senior season at Crossroads School and was rated a consensus top-40 player in his recruiting class by 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals.
He may be out this year with open-heart surgery but if anyone can do it, the 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward who is the son of Superman, can.