Shaquille O’Neal: My Kids Don’t ‘Realize Who I Was’ as a Basketball Star

Shaquille O'Neal with four of his children at West Coast Customs on January 13, 2018 in Burbank, California.
Shaquille O’Neal with four of his children at West Coast Customs on January 13, 2018 in Burbank, California. assy Athena/Getty Images

Shaquille O’Neal proved to be one of the best centers the NBA has ever seen. But to his five kids, he’s just their old man.

When the 46-year-old retired ball player asks his children who their all-time favorite player from the league is, “they always say Kobe [Bryant] or LeBron [James],” he jokes in the new issue of Us Weekly. Not that their Hall of Famer father, whose accolades include winning four NBA championships and three NBA Finals MVP awards between 1992 and 2011, minds. “I don’t think they realize who I was,” O’Neal continues. “They never really saw that. They never mention me.”

It’s only when he buys them their necessities, he jokes, that he becomes an MVP in their eyes. They see dad as a “paycheck,” he says. “All they really see are Toys ‘R’ Us, the Apple store, Best Buy and all of that stuff.” But the father of five is OK with the title they have for him. Says the occasional actor, rapper and podcast host, “To them, I’m Dad.”

O’Neal is the father to Taahirah, 21 (with ex-girlfriend Arnetta Yardbourgh), and Shareef, 18, Amirah, 16, Shaqir, 15, and Me’arah, 12 (with ex-wife Shaunie).

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For more on the basketball legend and his children, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now!

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