Daily Sports Smile: Shareef O'Neal signs six-figure deal with G-League

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 18: Shareef O'Neal #24 of the LSU Tigers looks on against the Iowa State Cyclones in the first half during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Fiserv Forum on March 18, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Victoria Hernandez
USA TODAY Sports+

Walking in the footsteps of a size 22 shoe is no easy feat, but Shareef O'Neal is continuing to chase his basketball dream even with the pressure of being Shaquille O'Neal's son.

The 22-year-old signed a six-figure contract with the G-League Ignite, basketball insider Shams Charania reported Monday. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the typical G-League player makes an average of $37,000 a year, so this is big money for a spot on the team.

"VEGAS LETS DO IT!!" O'Neal wrote on Twitter, sharing the news about joining the Henderson, Nevada-based team. "Thank you (Ignite!)"

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The Ignite is adjacent to the G-League and features the top NBA prospects and elite players from the five-month syndicate. The team faces off against other G-League and international teams. The accelerated program also teaches life skills, including classes in financial literacy.

The news comes after O'Neal played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the Summer League where he played in four games, averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Even more extraordinary about O'Neal's basketball journey is that he has a congenital heart defect called a right anomalous coronary artery, which affects blood flow through the heart. He missed his first year of basketball at UCLA  for the 2018-2019 season when he had open heart surgery. He played 13 games the following season, averaging 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds.

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The forward then transferred to his father's alma mater, LSU, where he played two seasons. He struggled with injuries, but scored two three-point shots in three games, more than Shaq did in three years as a Tiger.