On the Season 8 premiere of Basketball Wives, Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife Shaunie O’Neal deals with their 6’9 son Shareef needing to have open heart surgery. During a routine checkup to get cleared to play college basketball at UCLA, the doctors discovered he had a right anomalous coronary artery which grows in the wrong place.
Shareef has had it since he was born and according to his mother, “He literally could have died from it.” When Shaunie was told that he needed open heart surgery, she said, “I felt my heart break.”
Before leaving the house for the hospital, Shaunie’s eldest son Myles tries to calm her and tells her she needs to be level-headed. She tells Myles, “I think I’ve been doing pretty good,” although she admits, “I have really bad moments by myself.”
She says she definitely disconnected and says, “I was in a really dark place but had to put on that happy face” for her younger kids — Shaquir, Me’arah and Mimi. When Shaunie takes all five kids by jet to the hospital she says, “This is definitely the hardest thing that we’ve ever had to face in our lives.” Spoiler alert: Shareef has made a full recovery. Basketball Wives airs Wednesdays at 8 pm on VH1, right before the new spin-off Tami Ever After.