Thanks to Lucille O’Neal, 7-footer Shaquille “Little Warrior” O’Neal Chose Arabian Influences While Naming son Shareef O’Neal

Jeet Pukhrambam
|Published 24/11/2022

Shaquille O’Neal is one of America’s most recognizable names. The NBA legend has a unique name and so do his kids, and it is all thanks to his mom, Lucille O’Neal’s decision. Shareef O’Neal got the same treatment.

When we name kids, we want the name to be unique and for people to notice it. Nobody wants a run-of-the-mill name for their kid. And Lucille O’Neal certainly didn’t want it for his son.

But how did a woman in suburban New York state give her child such a prominent name? Well, that is the story that has led to “Shaq” becoming a household name.

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How Arabic culture influenced the names of Shaquille O’Neal and Shareef O’Neal

As per the story from Shaq himself, “So my mother was walking downtown Newark and she ran across a brother that had a book of names, and in the book of names, she’d picked my name. I said she killed this little one in my middle name rush on this water. So my mom was like no matter what happens you’re gonna be my little warrior so my name was an Arabic name.”.

Yes, Shaquille means “Little Warrior”. We don’t think even Lucille thought her son would go on to become the 7-foot dominating machine he is. And little warrior suits Shaq’s demeanor.

In the interview with Mike Tyson, the two talk about names and why they are so important. Shaquille O’Neal sounds so unique, you cannot even forget it if you want to. Naturally, he wanted the same for his kids.

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Why did Shaq choose an Arabic name for his eldest son?

It is this Arabic influence, that led to Shaquille O’Neal christening his kids with names of the same origin. His oldest son Shareef, and daughter Taahirah among others have Arabic names.

Shaq also wanted to honor his mother and her original choice. And hence he chose to continue the tradition in her honor. There is no guarantee it will continue with his grandchildren but it just might.

Today, we’re just glad to know why Shaq named his eldest Shareef. And if you’re wondering, Shareef means “noble” in Arabic.

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About the author
Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam

Jeet Pukhrambam is TheSportsRush's editor and creative writer. After freelancing for five years as an independent writer, Jeet has created thousands of blog posts and articles. He now covers intriguing news reports and throwback stories on all things NBA. His interest in NBA started with the ascendancy of Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2016-17 season. Since then, Jeet has managed to coalesce his knowledge of the game and his writing to create pieces that are reflective of the current state of the league. In his free time, he enjoys techno, football, cooking, and traveling. Jeet takes pride in his critical thinking, music playlists, and his love for spaghetti.

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