In December 2018, Shareef O’Neal, the son of NBA legend Shaq, underwent heart surgery to treat an illness that put his basketball career at risk. It was a tough time for the freshman at UCLA, and he needed all the support he could get. One of his greatest defenders was Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Shareef recently opened up about how Kobe played a vital role on his road to recovery. Apparently, Bryant went out of his way to make sure Shareef was okay:
“He was a person who always checked in with me,” Shareef said, via Clutch points on Twitter. “Like every day of my [open heart] surgery, he always texted me, ‘How are you today?’ He always watched over me, made sure I was good. Every time I needed to go to the gym, he was like, ‘Oh yeah, you can call me. You know where I am,” if he was busy. He always watched for sure – me and my siblings.
“He was a person who always contacted me. Like every day of my [open heart] surgery, he always texted me, ‘How are you today?’ He always watched over me.”
🗣️ Shareef O’Neal on Kobe Bryantpic.twitter.com/dxnNGKXRkX
—ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 19, 2022
The feud between former Lakers teammates Kobe and Shaq is well documented. However, it is also common knowledge that the couple resolved their differences and eventually became close friends. This friendship extended to their families, with Kobe clearly establishing a connection with Shaq’s children.
Right now, Shareef hopes to make his mark with the same team his father and Kobe Bryant played for for many years. Shareef just hopes he makes them proud now that he’s looking to establish his own career in the NBA.