Shaquille O’Neal’s son Shareef getting Kobe Bryant tribute tattoo
The sudden and tragic death of Kobe Bryant has left Shareef O’Neal devastated, and Shaq’s college-aged son has revealed that he’s getting a tribute tattoo of the Los Angeles Lakers legend.
Shareef looked up to Bryant like an uncle, so it’s understandable that his passing hit the young man pretty hard. That much is evident in Shareef’s social media dispatches since Kobe, along with 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were among the nine people who perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26, 2020.
In fact, Kobe’s final communication just hours before his death was to Shareef, which O’Neal later shared on Twitter.
Literally this morning you reached out to me …. I love you forever unc I love you pic.twitter.com/3oVgvKKUkm— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) January 26, 2020
Shareef took to Twitter early Wednesday morning to showcase his Kobe tattoo as a work in progress. The 20-year-old wrote, “Can’t wait for you guys to see the final product.”
Can’t wait for you guys to see final product pic.twitter.com/DXiUjThmtt— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) February 5, 2020
The tattoos appear to include a No. 2 Mamba Academy jersey in honor Gianna and the numbers 24 and 8 in tribute to the jerseys Bryant wore with the Lakers.
Shareef recently shared that he could always count on Bryant to be one of his biggest supporters. He said the late Lakers icon was always reminding him to “be the best I can be.”
As Shareef contemplates enrolling at LSU — where his father played college ball — after leaving UCLA, he made note of how he will always honor the memories of those who lost their lives in the tragic accident whenever he steps on the court.
“It’s always gonna be in my mind,” Shareef said, per TMZ. “It’s a crazy, crazy feeling to think about it, but its always gonna be in my mind.”
Despite the fact Shaq and Kobe had a complicated relationship during their time as teammates and for many years afterward, their two families ultimately became quite close. How both Shaq and Shareef have mourned Kobe’s death is a testament to that bond.