Shareef O’Neal admits LeBron James was his favorite player growing up

Peter Dewey
2 Min Read

Shareef O’Neal, the son of Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal, revealed who his favorite player in the NBA was when he was growing up.

The younger O’Neal chose Lakers star forward LeBron James as his favorite player growing up.

James, who has played for the Lakers, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in his storied NBA career, is one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

The younger O’Neal could have a chance to play with or against James in the NBA, as he elected to remain in the class for the 2022 NBA Draft.

It’s possible that the Lakers make a move to select O’Neal in the draft, as he worked out for the team on Tuesday.

“I walked in today and I was kind of starstruck,” the younger O’Neal said. “Like, I was really born into this team. My dad and Kobe [Bryant] won championships when I was born and now it’s me putting on the Lakers gear. It was crazy. I was speechless, kind of.”

The younger O’Neal played his collegiate basketball at two schools. He started his career at the University of California, Los Angeles before transferring to play at Louisiana State University.

Last season for the Tigers, the younger O’Neal averaged 2.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 9.2 minutes per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field.

It’s no surprise that the younger O’Neal idolized James while growing up. The four-time champion is one of the most accomplished players in the sport, winning four NBA Finals MVP awards and four regular season MVP awards.

James will look to add to that resume in the 2022-23 season for the Lakers and lead them back to the NBA Finals.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.