In April 2020, Shareef and Amirah O’Neal, the children of Shaunie and NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal, both choose to attend LSU, their famous father’s alma mater. Recently, Shaunie took part in the bittersweet family tradition of dropping her kids off at college.


On Instagram, Shaunie shared her feelings about the drop-off, saying that although she was happy for her kids, she misses them dearly and is concerned for them as any loving mother would be. The caption to her post reads:

“Wheeeeew so I’ve been struggling this last week. I had to drop 2 of my heartbeats❤️ off at college, and honestly, I’ve had to stop myself from going back and moving in with them (Ok I know that’s extreme), but I’m just concerned with so much going on. I know God has all of our children covered, but this is tough. I’ve read every article from @nytimes to @usatoday on how to prepare for the drop-off, but I miss my babies. Parents, how are you coping with dropping your kids off at college? #concernedmom #helpasistaout #prayforme #sendmetips #kidsofftocollege.”

In December 2018, 20-year-old Shareef O’Neal had surgery to correct a heart defect, which caused him to miss his entire freshman season with UCLA, his former school. When he recovered, O’Neal played in 13 UCLA games before announcing his transfer to LSU, averaging 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game.

The day after Shareef’s official transfer to LSU, 18-year-old Amirah O’Neal announced that she would also be attending LSU. She previously played high school basketball at Crossroads High School in Santa Monica, California, averaging 17.2 points per game, was a four-time All-CIF selection, three-time All-Gold Coast League selection, and a two-time All-State selection.

Shaq was a two-time All-American at LSU and is honored with a bronze statue outside LSU’s Pete Mavarich Assembly Center. LSU men’s basketball head coach Will Wade previously said in a statement: “The name O’Neal is a part of LSU basketball history.” With their mother’s blessing, Shareef and Amirah now look to make some history of their own at LSU.

Kotey Ashie

Kotey Ashie

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