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Mourning the Death of 23YO Basketball Star, Shaquille O’Neal’s 20YO Son Pays Silent Tribute on Social Media

Published 08/23/2023, 9:13 AM EDT

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The state of Texas holds a special place in the hearts of Shaquille O’Neal and his family. So, one can imagine that the loss of a young hooper in the state is weighing heavily on their hearts. The University of Houston confirmed the passing away of one of its biggest stars. Athletes, even from rival teams, have expressed their grief over the young star’s life being cut short too soon. Shaq’s 20-year-old son was also left in shock after the tragic demise of the young basketball player.

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Shaqir O’Neal plays college basketball in Texas as well. Chances are, he knew the deceased ever since he came to Houston. He paid a heartfelt tribute in his own way.

Shaqir O’Neal mourns late college athlete


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Reggie Chaney passed away on Monday, August 21, 2023. Chaney last played as a forward on the University of Houston basketball team. Together with the Houston Cougars, Chaney previously reached the Final Four in 2021.

He was a promising player with many followers. Tributes and condolences have been pouring in since UH confirmed his passing. Among the ones grieving is 20-year-old Shaqir O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal.


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Shaqir shared a brief and meaningful tribute to Chaney on his Instagram stories. It’s Chaney’s official UH portrait which read, “Reggie Chaney 1999-2023.” A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Chaney first played two seasons at Arkansas. He transferred to Houston and played his last three seasons there. He was named the American Athletic Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year.

Law enforcement confirmed that Chaney was found dead in an apartment in Arlington. A family friend discovered him unresponsive in a bedroom. The cause of death has not been disclosed yet. An investigation is ongoing and, so far, foul play is not suspected. He is survived by his parents, two sisters, and a brother. A GoFundMe page was set up following his death to help the family deal with the expenses, which has so far raised more than $25,000.

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He was set to embark on a professional basketball career soon. His former coach, Kelvin Sampson, said that Chaney was due to leave for Greece at the end of the month to play with AE Psychiko. In one of his last moments in the Cougar jersey, he expressed his sadness at not being able to see his longtime teammates every day.

The O’Neal family has shown support for Texas

Big Diesel spent the latter years of his childhood in The Lone Star State. Additionally, after Shareef, Shaqir is also making a noticeable impact on college basketball. Emerging as a top prospect, he enrolled in Texas Southern University, a very close neighbor of UH. Chaney and O’Neal could’ve crossed paths during the former’s time in Houston.


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The O’Neal family’s connection to Texas goes well beyond Shaqir playing there. Recently, his father, Shaquille, sent a private message of support to a sheriff’s deputy in Harris County who was injured in the line of duty. Shaqir also reflected the same compassion for the deceased athlete.

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Written by:

Caroline John


One take at a time

Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair