"You're gonna meet a young lady named Anesthesia" - How Shaq consoled his son Shareef O'Neal ahead of his cardiac surgery in 2018

Shaquille O
Shaquille O'Neal (left) and his son Shareef O'Neal

In 2018, Shaquille O'Neal's son Shareef O'Neal was diagnosed with a severe heart condition and had to undergo surgery. As an 18-year-old at the time, O'Neal was nervous before the surgery and had to be consoled by his father. And in classic Shaq fashion, he diffused the situation with a joke.

Shareef O'Neal was diagnosed with a right anomalous coronary artery, a serious life-threatening condition that requires surgery. As per the LA Times, he was suffering from heart problems during his time in UCLA, and the medical staff asked him to wear a heart monitor. He was then diagnosed and subsequently scheduled for surgery in roughly three months.

Before he entered the operating room, the then-18-year-old expressed how scared he was, and his father had the perfect response to lighten the mood. The four-time NBA champion was a guest on "The Dan Patrick Show" and was asked about the health of his son Shareef.

Given that Shaquille O'Neal has had his fair share of experience undergoing surgeries during his time in the NBA, he knows what to expect. He said:

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"It was open-heart surgery and he was very scared and I always said to myself, 'It is stories that get me to calm down'… so right before the surgery, he was scared and he had a little tear. I said, 'You scared? You should be' but when you go in that room, you're gonna meet a young lady named Anesthesia and you won't remember anything.' He said, 'What's her name?' I said, 'Anesthesia, she's gonna kiss you and then you know wake up and everything will be fine."


Shaq joked about anesthetics and how Shareef O'Neal will not remember anything after the surgery. Anesthetics induce anesthesia, a temporary loss of sensation that puts one to sleep so that surgeons can operate on the body without the patient feeling any pain.

Shareef O'Neal thanked everyone for their prayers after the successful surgery

Shaquille O'Neal (right) and his son Shareef O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal (right) and his son Shareef O'Neal

The surgery was a success and Shareef O'Neal is already playing at a high level. He is currently a part of the NBA G League team G League Ignite. He signed with the team after going undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft and playing with the LA Lakers in the 2022 Summer League.

After the surgery, O'Neal said:

"I made it,Thank you for all the love and support! I really appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, that’s what helped me through this surgery. I’m on the road to recovery, and I’ll be back soon...better than ever. His Words, typed by Mimi O'Neal."

O'Neal also credited the UCLA staff for catching the condition early. Several athletes and NBA media members gave their prayers and wishes to the O'Neal family at the time.

LeBron James' son Bronny James is undergoing a similar situation right now. He collapsed on the floor at USC during practice on Monday and was rushed to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a cardiac arrest but is now reportedly stable and out of the ICU.

Shareef O'Neal and Bronny James are friends and are often seen together. One can expect the two to connect after James' incident yesterday. Many are suggesting James might be able to lean on O'Neal during this situation as he has experience dealing with scary heart conditions.

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Edited by Ribin Peter
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