LOS ANGELES– Shareef O’Neal, the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, will miss his first season at UCLA after he was diagnosed with a heart condition, sources say.
The college freshman confirmed the news on Twitter. “Blessed to be living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last…I will be back basketball world…just wait on me. I’ll miss you this year, but you will always be with me.”
O’Neal was one of the most sought after high school recruits during his senior season at basketball powerhouse Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Calif.
He originally signed with The University of Arizona before he opted to sign with UCLA in August.
O’Neal believes this move may have saved him. He thanked UCLA’s medical staff for detecting the condition in an interview with TMZ Sports.
Basketball legend, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson sent well wishes to the young star on social media. “Cookie and I will be praying for Shareef O’Neal, son of Shaquille O’Neal, as he undergoes open heart surgery soon.”
.@cjbycookie and I will be praying for Shareef O'Neal, son of Shaquille O'Neal, as he undergoes open heart surgery soon.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 28, 2018
He will continue to attend classes during the rehabilitation process, he told TMZ Sports.