Shareef O’Neal, the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, responded to recent feedback from seven-time NBA champion Robert Horry about his recent play with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Horry, who won three titles with Shaquille in Los Angeles, recalled watching Shareef in a workout with the Lakers on the “Big Shot Bob” podcast. He wasn’t impressed by what he saw from Shareef after he was apparently outworked by a teammate on the court.
He then proceeded to question his drive and effort.
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. I was like, ‘You gotta put forth some effort, man.’ Shareef is such a nice kid that I don’t know if he has that dog in him to go out and take what he wants. Shaq had that dog in him. You gotta be able to do that.
The statement by Horry, which was made on July 28, started to circulate around social media and made it back to Shareef. He seemingly took the criticism in stride and vowed to bounce back and prove everyone wrong next season.
Shareef, who transferred from UCLA to LSU ahead of the 2020-21 season, missed much of the past two years due to a foot injury. He made his season debut with the Tigers on Jan. 12 and averaged 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14 games.
The 22-year-old went undrafted but joined the Lakers for the summer league. He averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in six games between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas. He produced his best game on July 8 with seven points and four rebounds.
Following his stint with the Lakers, Shareef inked a six-figure contract with the NBA G League Ignite for next season. He will now have the opportunity to continue his development against NBA-caliber players alongside some of the top up-and-coming prospects.
He will certainly enter next season with that criticism from Horry in the back of his mind and look to turn in a strong 2022-23 campaign. With next season approaching, it will be worth monitoring to see how Shareef responds with the Ignite.
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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire