The 18-year-old has a heart condition that will require major surgery. He told TMZ that during a routine checkup, doctors expressed concerns about his heart. The basketball legend’s son didn’t specify what the problem was.
"Thank God the UCLA medical staff caught it early," he said. Shareef added that he had "felt funny" during team workouts this summer. The doctor’s at UCLA's asked him to wear a heart monitor in case he needed to alert them. He pressed the button once during summer practice, which is when doctors discovered the heart ailment.
Shareef has been discussing next steps with his parents, though he will continue as a student at UCLA during his recovery. "During rehab, I'll be attending my classes and being a normal student," he said.
Shareef was a top high school player in 2018 and was slated to join the incoming UCLA class, which is ranked third after Duke and Kentucky. The player originally committed to Arizona but switched to UCLA after an ESPN report linked Sean Miller to a pay-for-play deal involving Deandre Ayton.
Though Shareef grew up with a passion for basketball, he preferred skateboarding. However, after a disappointing game in middle school, he vowed to "prove everybody wrong" on the basketball court. At age 13, he started training regularly and was able to dunk. In his freshman of high school, Shareef played for Windward School in Los Angeles as a forward. Despite his limited playing time, he was averaging 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game by the end of the season.
In October 2015, at a tournament in Fairfax High School, he scored 23 points in a loss to Bishop Alemany. On June 29, 2016, he announced he would transfer to Crossroads School in Santa Monica. On Jan. 6, 2017, he scored 15 points in a 54–50 win over Brentwood, and on Feb. 17, 2018, he scored 20 points in a matchup with Bol Bol, son of former NBA player Manute Bol, in a 44–80 loss to Mater Dei.
Shareef plans to return to the court in 2019, describing the setback as "just a bump in the road."
"I'll be back in no time," he assured fans. Here at The Sportster, we wish him a speedy recovery.