The former NBA star, 51, shared his candid thoughts about financially supporting his children during a recent interview with Insider. O’Neal is the father of six, as he shares five children - Myles, 26, Shareef, 23, Amirah, 21, Shaqir, 20, and Me’arah, 17 - with ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal. He also has a 27-year-old daughter, Taahirah, with ex Arnetta Yardbourgh.
During his interview with Insider, the 15-time All-Star explained that, despite how much money he’s earned throughout his career, he won’t give it to his children for just anything. “I’m not just gonna give you money for a party,” he said.
He went on to specify that he follows a philosophy called “respectable nepotism,” which requires his children to give their father a “business plan” when asking him for money. O’Neal also said that they have to do their “due diligence” before he’d give them money.
“Since you want me to be the bank, I’m gonna do exactly what the bank is going to do to you,” he said.
O’Neal also described a point in which he followed this strategy: When Myles told him that he wanted to become a DJ. “I said: ‘Alright, I’ll help you get the equipment,’” the former athlete recalled. “And he’s killing it.”
According to Myles’ agency, he’s been the DJ at major events, including a 2022 residency at the Wynn Las Vegas. He also took part in a European tour last year, alongside his father, who’s become a DJ himself - formally known as DJ Diesel.
As O’Neal called his son “one of the top DJs in the world” during the interview, he also praised the 26 year old for how far he’s come. “And he’s done it by himself,” he said. “I’m proud of him.”
He added that, because his three youngest children, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me’arah, are still in school, they “haven’t really pitched anything” regarding their career plans. However, he joked that he wants to convince them to continue going to school after they finish their bachelor degrees.
“I’m like: ‘If you go to law school and graduate, you get a big bag,” he said. “Because out of my six, they’re the smartest; they’re the ones that are probably gonna run the company.”
O’Neal continued: “So I’m trying to bribe all of them like: ‘Hey, just go to law school for me and I’ll give you whatever you want.’”
This isn’t the first time that O’Neal has spoken candidly about how he raises his children. During an interview with Australia’s 7NEWS in August 2022, he first explained that although he’ll financially help his children become “whatever they want to become,” he won’t give them the money right off the bat.
“They know that they have [money] to fall back on, but I tell them it’s not going to be that easy,” he explained. “In order to get my cheese, you have to present me with two degrees, so I just keep them motivated and keep them happy. I’m teaching them about generational wealth right now.”
During an appearance on the Earn Your Leisure podcast in November 2021, O’Neal, who made more than $286m during his basketball playing days, shared his approach to family finance.
“My kids are older now,” he said. “They’re kinda upset with me. Not really upset, but they don’t understand. I tell them all the time. We ain’t rich. I’m rich.”
O’Neal also explained that, once his children get a bachelor’s or master’s degree, he’d invest in their projects, depending on how they’re pitched.
“If you want me to invest in one of your companies, you’re going to have to present it, boom boom boom, bring it to me,” he said. “I’ll let you know, I’m not giving you nothing.”