Shaquille O’Neal has a message for all you fathers out there who find it challenging to co-parent with an ex, “It’s a man’s job to protect and provide. That’s it,” he told Us Weekly at the opening of his new L.A. restaurant on March 9.
While he’s no longer married to ex-wife Shaunie, the basketball legend enjoys co-parenting their four kids, Shareef, 19, Amirah, 17, Shaqir, 15, and Me’arah, 12. He also shares daughter Taahirah, 22, with ex Arnetta Yardbourgh.
Shaq and Shaunie wed in 2002 and separated five years later. They reconciled in 2007 but she ultimately filed for divorce in 2009.
The retired NBA star says it’s all about that team player mindset when it comes to balancing fatherhood with his busy work schedule.
“Being on a championship team, playing for a championship franchise, you learn teamwork and you learn leadership,” he explained. “You’ve got to have a point guard, appoint somebody to look at the books. You’ve got to have a shooting guard.”
Shaq previously spoke to Us about his children in June, noting that they don’t really see view him as an NBA superstar.
“They always say Kobe [Bryant] or LeBron [James] [are their favorite players],” he said. “I don’t think they realize who I was. They never really saw that. They never mention me. … To them, I’m Dad.”
The ex-wife and the entire O’Neal clan were on hand Saturday for the opening of Shaq’s newest restaurant “Shaquille’s” located at L.A. Live (Shaq also owns Big Chicken in Las Vegas and a Krispy Kreme in Atlanta).
LA Weekly reported that guests feasted on chef Matthew Silverman’s Southern-style menu which included “mac and cheese, shrimp and green chili cheese grits, deviled eggs with country ham, brisket sliders, black pepper biscuits, fried green tomatoes, banana pudding and specialty cocktails.”