The 20-year old Son of Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal, says he always looked at the last message he ever received from Kobe Bryant hours before the basketball legend’s death, every day.
On January 26, Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.
“You good fam?” Bryant asked Shareef, which the college hoop player said he’ll always appreciate. He was on his way to the Mamba Sports Academy on the day he received the text, the same place Bryant and the others were heading until an unfortunate turn of events happened.
“It’s a special moment. It’s crazy that three hours before that he texted me asking if I’m good. He was always checking in on me. I would’ve seen him that day because I was going to the same place he was going. It’s crazy. It’s still unbelievable.”
“I look at it every day,” said Shareef.
“There’s always those people in life you look at like superheroes and that nothing bad can ever happen to them,” he said. The young man still couldn’t believe it and still refuses to believe it. “It’s too crazy to think about” he adds.
Shareef also said that it changed his basketball drive up to ten times more. “I’m gonna do it for him because I know he’d want me to do well.” He always believed in it, crazy as it may seem, but he’s determined to play for Kobe.
Shareef recently announced that he’s leaving UCLA and will play for LSU, his father’s alma mater.
As a player for the UCLA Bruins at the start of the 2018-19 season, the 6’9″ forward learned that he had a heart condition during a routine medical checkup. He underwent surgery in December 2018 and had to drop his entire season at the California school. The surgery was considered a success.
Shareef’s father Shaquille played with Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996-2004, and they won three championships together in 2000, 2001 and 2002.