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)