NBA veteran and sports analyst Shaquille O’Neal said his sons must leave his house at 18, but his daughters don’t have to.
Shaquille made the statement during a recent interview on The Pivot Podcast, which premiered on Apr. 19.
“I tell my boys: ‘When y’all [turn] 18, you all got to go. Girls can stay as long as they want. I’m dead serious,” he told hosts, former NFL players Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, and Fred Taylor. “[To my girls], y’all can stay as long as y’all want, take your time. Go to college, get your master’s, get your doctorate. I’ll pay for it. Take your time.”
He revealed his parenting technique in response to Ryan, who initially asked him if he had favorites.
“Do you have a favorite of your children, or have you been accused of favoritism?” he asked.
“I like my girls a little bit better because as a man, you have to protect, provide, and love for your woman,” the former Lakers center replied. “I trust them more because they’re more sensitive, more caring, and they’re thinkers. You know how boys are, You know how boys are. My boys, you bring something in front of them, and they’re gone.”
Shaquille had three sons: Shaqir O’Neal (19), Shareef O’Neal (22), and Myles O’Neal (24), with his now-ex-wife, TV personality Shaunie O’Neal. They have also shared two daughters, Me’arah O’Neal (15) and Amirah O’Neal (20). In addition, he had his eldest daughter, Taahira O’Neal (25), with his former girlfriend, businesswoman Arnetta Yardbourgh.
The legendary basketball star added that he has been schooling his girls about men and discouraging them from dating guys similar to his younger self.
“I’m trying to teach [my girls] about all types of men, and you know, what to avoid. I tell them all the time, I said, ‘Don’t mess with somebody that everybody wants…because he [has too many options] and depending on how he was raised, he may take advantage of those options. You should get somebody that you like, respect, and that you can control. That’s what you should be looking for. If you try to message a guy that everybody likes, it’s [going to] end up being crazy. Don’t mess with [anyone] like your daddy because your daddy used to be an animal like that.”
During his interview, Shaquille also expressed that he regretted losing Shaunie due to some of his own behavior. The couple divorced in 2011 after separating in 2007. They were married for five years, as they wed in 2002.
“I had the perfect situation. My wife was fine [and] kept giving me babies. Still fine. I had it all. I don’t make excuses. I know I messed up. When that d-word happened, I don’t like to use that word. I was lost. Seventy-six thousand square foot house by yourself. Lost. No kids. Go to the gym. Nobody’s playing. You go to their room. Nobody’s there.”