The University of Florida is welcoming Shaq’s youngest daughter, Me’Arah O’Neal. The 17-year-old signed her national letter of intent on Sunday. She was surrounded by her parents, who surprised her with a white Range Rover for the occasion, according to FOX 26 Houston.

O’Neal will be playing women’s basketball for the Florida Gators. She settled on the decision after receiving offers from seven other colleges, including her father’s alma mater, LSU and other big names such as Arizona State and UCLA.

“My family was just there to support me. I was pressuring myself to make a decision, but I learned I had to be patient. And I did make this decision on my own,” O’Neal said, according to ESPN.

She visited the school last September and said it was a turning point when she ultimately committed.

“I went on the Florida visit, and I had a feeling that’s where I belonged,” she said. “And that I was going to be most successful if I went to go play at Florida. I felt like I connected with Coach Kelly more than I connected with any of the other schools that recruited me. She really cares about me, not just on the court but off the court. That’s important for me.”

O’Neal is currently ranked No. 33 in the 2024 recruiting class by espnW. Prior to college, she played for Episcopal High School in Houston. The 17-year-old has participated in competitions such as the SLAM Summer Classic at Rucker Park, the Nike World Basketball Festival and the Wootten Basketball Camp.


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She is the fourth of her siblings to have been inspired by her father’s career in sports. Her brother Shareef played for UCLA and LSU, her sister Amirah competed for LSU and Texas Southern University, and her brother Shaqir recently made his TSU debut, according to the Bleacher Report.

O’Neal points to her family providing her with a strong support system. 

“He sacrificed a light just for me to play basketball,” she told FOX 26 Houston about her father. “My mom as well. You know she’s a busy woman, but she still sacrifices a lot, and she’s at pretty much almost every single one of my games.”

Ultimately, O’Neal wants to forge her path in basketball.

“I want to inspire the younger generation or anybody just looking up to me: just follow your dreams and don’t stop,” she said.