Making it work! Shaquille O’Neal may no longer be married to ex-wife Shaunie, but the basketball legend has no problem working with her to coparent their four kids, Shareef, 19, Amirah, 17, Shaqir, 15, and Me’arah, 12.
“It’s a man’s job to protect and provide. That’s it,” the athlete, 47, who also shares daughter Taahirah, 22, with ex Arnetta Yardbourgh, told Us Weekly exclusively at the opening of his Shaquille’s at L.A. Live restaurant on Saturday, March 9.
The retired NBA star also said that he has a team player mindset when it comes to balancing fatherhood with his other endeavors, like his new eatery.
“Being on a championship team, playing for a championship franchise, you learn teamwork and you learn leadership,” he explained. “You’ve got to have a point guard, appoint somebody to look at the books. You’ve got to have a shooting guard.”
You’ve also got to have someone to prepare the meals — something Shaq says is not in his wheelhouse. “No, never!” he laughed when asked if he ever cooks for his brood.
The restaurateur (Shaq also owns Big Chicken in Las Vegas and a Krispy Kreme in Atlanta) previously spoke to Us about his five children in June, noting that they don’t really see him as the superstar he is. “They always say Kobe [Bryant] or LeBron [James] [are their favorite players],” he said. “I don’t think they realize who I was. They never really saw that. They never mention me. … To them, I’m Dad.”
Shaq and Shaunie wed in 2002 and separated five years later. Though they briefly reconciled in 2007, the Basketball Wives executive producer, 44, filed for divorce from her now ex-husband in 2009.
With reporting by Emily Marcus
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