Shaquille O’Neal gave his eldest daughter a chance to be in the spotlight for once, as footage was shared from a clip of him celebrating her graduation from college last spring on his TNT reality series, Shaq Life.
For the record though, Taahirah O’Neal hasn’t been interested in being in the public eye. While we have seen all of Shaq’s children with Shaunie O’Neal over the years on red carpets, social media and reality shows (Basketball Wives, Shaunie’s Home Court), Taahirah was focused on other things, including getting her education.
Taahirah was part of Oglethorpe University’s graduating class of 2019, graduating magna cum laude (meaning her gpa was lit), and Shaq flew down to the Atlanta campus to celebrate her accomplishment. It was especially important for the 48-year-old to be there.
“I have six kids. When I was young I missed a lot,” he said in a serious tone in the show’s confessional. “A lot of birthdays, a lot of graduations. I let everybody down.”
“I try to make up for that every day,” he added. “You know, just try to be the best dad that I can.”
Shaq, who obviously stood out among the crowd of excited parents and family members, would later share a heartfelt message for his daughter at her graduation party.
“I look forward to you going to law school, getting your master’s and taking over my company so I can retire,” he said. “I just want to say I love you with all my heart and I’m so proud of you.”
Taahirah is the NBA Hall of Famer’s first child and from his relationship with high school girlfriend Arnetta Yardbourgh. He was married to Shaunie from 2002 until their divorce was finalized in 2010. They share Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir and Me’arah, and Shaq claims Shaunie’s son Myles, from a previous relationship, as his own.
In 2016, Taahirah did a rare interview with the TOMBOI brunch about how she’s always tried to carve out her own identity as her famous father’s daughter.
“I wouldn’t change my childhood for anything in the world. I’m so blessed and fortunate to have the parents that I do have,” she said at the time. “But it was difficult at some times. I felt like I was being overshadowed by the success both of my parents had.”
She noted that her mother is a professional life coach, on top of her father being a world famous athlete. She never wanted their success to determine what her own success would be.
“I just had a lot of people expect a lot of things out of me that weren’t quite there yet,” she said. “It was just a lot of frustration because your childhood is when you kind of come to terms with who you are. People liked to put me in the Shaq’s daughter box, and I didn’t like that box so much because I’m so much more than that.”
Check out photos of Shaq with Taahirah, and all of his kids, by hitting the flip below:
Shaq posed with a baby Taahirah and fellow NBA legend Magic Johnson at an awards event back in 1997.
Shaquille O’Neal & Daughter & Magic Johnson during Magic Johnson Awards at Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Speaking of babies, Shaq and a then baby Shareef were dressed as twins at an “Evening of Champions” event way back in 2000.
379707 07: Professional Basketball player Shaquille O”Neal and his son attend the Oscar De La Hoya Foundation’s “Evening Of Champions” October 6, 2000 in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Newsmakers)
Shaq and then-fiancêe Shaunie O’Neal were all smiles and looking quite happy together with a baby Amirah back in summer 2002.
Shaunie, Shaquille O’Neal, and daughter Amirah during *NSYNC Challenge for the Children IV – Celebrity Basketball Game at TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida, United States. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
Shaq hit the red carpet for the premiere of Cheaper By the Dozen with Miles, Shareef and Amirah back in 2003. The older child pictured is not one of his kids.
Shaquille O’Neal and children during “Cheaper by the Dozen” – Los Angeles Premiere – Red Carpet at Mann’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Lee Celano/WireImage for Hollywood Reporter)
At his 32nd birthday party in 2004, Shaq celebrated with then-wife Shaunie and kids Shareef and Amirah.
LOS ANGELES – MARCH 6: Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O’Neal (centre) with his wife Shaunie Nelson (left), and their two children attend Shaquille O’Neal’s 32nd birthday and opening of the Team LA Superstore on Universal Studios Citywalk in Los Angeles, 2004 in California. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
Miles, Shareef and Amirah were lucky enough to get to check out the red, or green carpet, for the premiere of Shrek 2 in 2004 with their famous parents.
LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 8: Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O’Neal and children attend the Los Angeles premiere of the Dreamworks Pictures’ film “Shrek 2” at the Mann Village Theatre May 8, 2004 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
The brood was growing up fast when they attended the Hall of Game Awards, which dad Shaq was host of back in 2013.
SANTA MONICA, CA – FEBRUARY 09: Host Shaquille O’Neal (L) and family attend the Third Annual Hall of Game Awards hosted by Cartoon Network at Barker Hangar on February 9, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. 23270_002_SK_0816.JPG (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage)
It was a suited and booted guys night when Shaq hit the NBA Awards with Miles, Shareef and Shaqir back in 2018.
US retired professional basketball player Shaquille O’Neal (C) family members attend the 2018 NBA Awards at Barkar Hangar on June 25, 2018 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by TARA ZIEMBA / AFP) (Photo credit should read TARA ZIEMBA/AFP via Getty Images)
Family night was in full force when all of Shaq and Shaunie’s kids came together, as well as the former couple, for the opening of the NBA Hall of Famer’s pub last March. (The two children in the front are not his kids by the way.)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 09: Shaunie O’Neal (L), NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal (R) and family attend the grand opening of Shaquille’s At L.A. Live at LA Live on March 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
The proud dad enjoyed the 2019 NBA Awards with sons Shareef and Shaqir last summer.
US retired basketball player Shaquille O’Neal (C) and his sons Shareef O’Neal (L) and Shaqir O’Neal (R) arrive for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by LISA O’CONNOR / AFP) (Photo credit should read LISA O’CONNOR/AFP via Getty Images)