Me’Arah O’Neal: Rising Star in Florida Gators Basketball


Shaquille O’Neal’s daughter, Me’Arah O’Neal, has stepped onto the college basketball stage, becoming the fourth O’Neal family member to embrace the sport at this level. Born on May 1, 2006, in Miami while Shaq was playing for the Miami Heat, 17-year-old Me’Arah has chosen to play for the Florida Gators, bypassing her father’s alma mater, LSU. The decision was announced on ESPN’s SportsCenter and Instagram.

Me’Arah, who has three older brothers, Shareef O’Neal, Shaqir O’Neal, and Myles B. O’Neal, as well as two older sisters, Amirah O’Neal and Taahirah O’Neal, played basketball at Episcopal High School in Houston, where she garnered attention for her skills. Her mother, Shaunie Henderson, a TV personality and executive producer of reality TV series, adds a dynamic dimension to the family.

The O’Neal family’s basketball legacy is well-established, with Shaquille O’Neal being one of the most iconic players in NBA history. Me’Arah’s siblings have also pursued careers in basketball, while Myles ventured into entertainment.

Me’Arah’s journey to college basketball stardom began with several notable colleges vying for her talents, including Arizona State, Baylor, UCLA, Florida, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Eventually, she chose Florida, citing a sense of belonging and a strong connection with Coach Kelly Rae Finley.

Ranked 33rd in the 2024 Draft class and standing at an impressive 6 ft-3 in height, Me’Arah has set her sights on making significant contributions to the Florida Gators. Her decision to carve out her own career trajectory, distinct from her father’s towering legacy, reflects her determination to establish herself in the basketball world.

Shaquille O’Neal expressed support for Me’Arah’s decision, advising her to go where she is needed rather than where she is merely wanted. The basketball icon emphasized the importance of his children creating their own journeys and experiences.

The O’Neal family’s influence in basketball continues to evolve, with Me’Arah bringing her skills and passion to the Florida Gators. As she enters the college basketball arena, all eyes will be on this rising star as she looks to leave her mark and contribute to the O’Neal legacy on the court.

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By- Sahiba Suri

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