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Why did Shareef O'Neal need heart surgery? Basketball Wives star opens up about recovery

Since its debut back in 2010, Basketball Wives has followed the wives and partners of basketball stars.

The VH1 show shares the female perspective behind the fame and career of basketball players, as well as the occasional drama, jealousy and plot twists.

The son of Basketball Wives star Shaunie O’Neal, Shareef, has previously undergone a heart surgery and viewers wonder how is he now.

More than a year after the surgery, Shareef took to social media to share an emotional post about how he didn’t let the condition to “defeat” him.

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Shaunie and Shareef from Basketball Wives

Why did Shareef need heart surgery?

Shareef’s mom Shaunie revealed that he needed heart surgery following an anomalous coronary artery.

Shaunie opened up about her son’s condition on Basketball Wives, saying that he “could’ve died” if the condition was left undiagnosed.

In an episode on the VH1 series last year, she said: “[It’s] an artery that just grows in the wrong place. He was born with it. He could’ve died from it.

“They let us know Shareef needed open-heart surgery. That made my heart break.”

The young basketball star had the surgery back in 2018.

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Shareef’s recovery

In an Instagram post in March 2019, Shaunie revealed that Shareef has fully recovered and that he’s been “cleared with no limitations”.

Shaunie also thanked her followers for their continuous messages full of support and love during this challenging time for the whole O’Neal family.

She also added that she will continue to advocate for young ahtletes to “get the best screenings”.

Shareef shares an emotional post

Shareef recently took to Twitter to share an emotional post, opening up about his family’s support following his surgery.

He tweeted: “The worst thing I’ve ever said was when I told my parents ‘I felt defeated’ and ‘I couldn’t do it’ after my heart surgery…don’t doubt yourself.”

In a second Twitter post, he wrote: “You can’t believe in defeat…push through that.”


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Filiz is a film and TV journalist with a flair for everything related to showbiz and reality TV. With a Masters degree in Magazine Journalism from Cardiff University, she has specialised in finding the latest trending story to keeping up to date with new releases for a creative feature. When she's not busy creating entertainment content, she loves spending time in nature, reading non-fiction books, eating comfort food and travelling.