Shareef O'Neal signed with the G-League Ignite after his stint with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Summer League didn't result in a deal. The youngster backed himself by declaring for the draft against his father Shaquille's wishes but now faces a road with a lot of work if he wants to make it into the NBA at some point.
Some believe Shareef might not have what it takes. Former NBA champions Robert Horry is one of them. However, the younger O'Neal believes in himself, as is evident by the fact that he had a reply ready for Big Shot Bob. It only matters that he thinks he can do it, but there's another person whose opinion also holds some weight.
Shaquille O'Neal hasn't said much about his son's game recently, although he did once call him Giannis with a jump shot. In a recent interview with The National though, Shaq seemed to have a more tempered view of his son's abilities.
"He's a better shooter, better runner, better body, but sometimes you need to be a little bit crazy to want this," O'Neal said. "A lot of guys can play basketball, but you got to have that strong individual love for the game. I think if he continues to work hard, he'll be okay."
Making it to the NBA and especially to the top requires players to be almost obsessive in their pursuit of greatness. There is no reason to believe that Shareef doesn't have that in him, but it is necessary to make a name for yourself at the highest level of basketball.
A season in the G-League will give him a bit more time to work on his game as well as valuable experience against players scrapping to get into the league as well. He has every reason to have a chip on his shoulder, and if he can work hard as his father has suggested, a place on an NBA roster might be his sooner rather than later.