Every parent has different views on how early their kids should leave the nest and Shaquille O’Neal is voicing his personal preference. On an episode of The Pivot Podcast, the 50-year-old retired NBA star says he plans to let his girls stay home for longer than his sons.
“I tell my boys when y’all get 18 you all got to go. Girls can stay as long as they want,” he says. “[The girls] 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.”
The former Lakers center has six children–three of which are girls. Their names are Taahira, whom he had with former girlfriend Arnetta Yardbourgh, as well as Me’arah and Amirah O’Neal, whom he shares with ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal.
He explained the reasoning behind his house rules.
“I like my girls a little bit better,” he says. “Because as a man you have to protect, provide and love your woman.”
He continues, “I trust them more because they’re more sensitive, they’re more caring and they’re thinkers. You know how boys are. My boys, you bring something in front of them and they’re gone.”
While controversial, Shaq’s views aren’t completely left field for him considering he believes in a tough love approach. In the past he has expressed how important it is for his kids to be independent and made it clear that he isn’t giving any handouts. More specifically, during an interview with finance podcast Earn Your Leisure in November 2021, he says his kids must have degrees before he considers investing in their businesses, assuming they want to start one.
“I don’t care if you play basketball. I don’t care about none of that,” he said. “Listen, I got six kids. I would like a doctor, somebody to own a hedge fund, a pharmacist, a lawyer, someone that owns multiple businesses, someone to take over my business. But I tell them I’m not going to hand it to you. You gotta earn it.”
We’re sure Shaq has love for all his kids and is doing what he feels is best for them.