After not making the Los Angeles Lakers roster out of summer league, Shareef O'Neal took criticism from Robert Horry in stride Wednesday.
Speaking on his Big Shot Bob podcast (h/t Jonathan Sherman of LakersDaily.com), Horry questioned O'Neal's competitive fire and revealed that he almost placed a phone call to Shareef's father and former Lakers teammate Shaquille O'Neal.
Shaq, of course, was a 15-time All-Star, four-time NBA champion, three-time Finals MVP and one-time NBA MVP.
"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."
To Shareef's credit, he seemingly didn't take offense to Horry's comments and vowed to utilize what has been instilled in him by his Hall of Fame father:
Shareef O’Neal @SSJreef
I know this outta love and no disrespect!!! I got you BIG SHOT🙏🏾 but you know who raised me , 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! Youll see <a href="https://t.co/QmbciWH46c">https://t.co/QmbciWH46c</a>
Shareef took a long, winding road to his NBA opportunity.
He was enrolled at UCLA from 2018 to 2020 but missed an entire season as a medical redshirt after he was found to have a heart condition.
Shareef transferred to his dad's alma mater, LSU, in 2020 and spent two seasons with the program, averaging 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14 games in 2021-22.
O'Neal went on to play six summer league games and averaged 4.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per contest. That may not have landed him an NBA contract, but it did secure him a G League deal.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported last month that O'Neal signed a six-figure deal with the G League Ignite squad, meaning he will have additional chances to impress and perhaps make an NBA team at some point.