With an NBA career spanning nearly two decades, Shaquille O'Neal is easily regarded as one of the best basketball players of all time. The 7-foot-1 powerhouse was drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft. He spent four years in Florida before teaming up with the late Kobe Bryant and the indomitable Los Angeles Lakers.
While four NBA Finals championships, one league MVP honor and 15 All Star game nods are worth commemorating, Shaq has just as many accomplishments in his personal life, beginning with his five children. The New Jersey native has one daughter with ex-girlfriend, Arnetta Yardbourgh. After they split, he married Shaunie Nelson O'Neal in 2002. After seven years and four kids, the couple split in 2009.
Over the years, fans of the future Hall-of-Famer have been slowly introduced to his large family though television shows and social media. For those who aren't completely familiar with the future stars of the NBA, here is an introduction:
1. Shareef is poised to follow his father’s footsteps
The oldest child of Shaq and Shaunie is son, Shareef, who was born on January 11, 2000. Although his father is one of the most decorated NBA players of all time, Shareef originally had zero intentions of becoming a basketball star. Instead, he wanted to become a professional skateboarder. It wasn’t until Shareef became a teenager that he chose basketball as his preferred sport. After playing only 13 games on the UCLA men’s basketball team, Shareef transferred to LSU in February, his father’s alma mater.
2. Daughter Amirah has basketball aspirations of her own
The second of Shaq and Shaunie's children, Amirah, was born on November 3, 2001. Like Shareef and her decorated pops, she is also taking her talents to the Bayou. The 6-foot-2 center announced her commitment to LSU via her Instagram in April.
"One of the most difficult decisions for a person my age to make, is the jump from high school to college," O'Neal posted on a now-deleted post, via CBS Sports. "Although I don't fully know what's ahead of me, I am ready for the challenge. I never imagined myself saying this, but I am excited to say that I have decided to commit to being a student athlete at LSU along side my brother Shareef O'Neal. I am Sooooo grateful to spend my next 4 years as a Tiger."
THE BROTHER SISTER DUO! Congrats to my sister on committing to LSU???????? pic.twitter.com/KBoFW57gwN
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) April 16, 2020
3. Shaqir was seen dunking over his older brother last summer
Second son and third child, Shaqir, was born on April 19, 2003. Though not much is known about him other than his love of basketball, he and Shareef do enjoy some friendly competition. In June 2019, Overtime posted this video of Shaqir somewhat dunking over his big brother.
— Overtime (@overtime) June 12, 2019
4. Me’arah, Shaq’s fourth child with Shaunie, is also a dunking enthusiast
Given how effortless Shaq made it look throughout his storied career, it’s no surprise his kids want to emulate his athleticism and skill. Me’arah, born in 2006 the youngest of Shaq’s five children, has received high praise for her incredible abilities to aim high for the net. Taken in what appears to be their home gym, Shareef captured this video of Me’arah dunking on a 10-foot regulation hoop.
So my 13 year old sister is a cheat code … almost dunking ???? pic.twitter.com/JS1wPu9Y1F
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) February 26, 2020
5. Taahirah is Shaq’s oldest child
Before growing his family with Shaunie, Shaq had one daughter with his high school sweetheart Arnetta Yardbourgh. Unlike her half siblings, Taahirah does not have professional basketball aspirations. In 2019, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology magna cum laude from Atlanta’s Oglethorpe University. Shaq documented the occasion for his TNT reality television show Shaq Life.
“I have six kids. When I was young I missed a lot,” he said on the show. “A lot of birthdays, a lot of graduations. I let everybody down.” “I try to make up for that every day,” the 48-year-old continued. “You know, just try to be the best dad that I can.” “I look forward to you going to law school, getting your master’s and taking over my company so I can retire,” he jokingly said at Taahirah’s graduation party. “I just want to say I love you with all my heart and I’m so proud of you.”
Shaq told Jimmy Kimmel in 2017 that he doesn’t care if his kids pursue basketball or not, stating that the only pressure put on them is to go to school and receive an education. As it appears, his children are doing both with ease and have taken their father’s advice to heart.