Shaquille O’Neal’s mother is letting parents know just how important it is to support their children.

NBC’s “Today” show reports that Lucille had Shaquille when she was 17 years old. She confessed that she didn’t know what she was doing at the time.

She said:

“We grew up together, Shaquille and I.”

After marrying Army drill sergeant Phillip Harrison, Shaquille’s father, the two birthed three more children before divorcing.

The mother of four said she spent a lot of her motherhood watching her children, who are all athletes, do what they love.

For example, Lucille said she attended Shaq’s basketball games from the time he started playing at age 6 to the time he retired as a four-time NBA champion at the age of 39 in 2011.

She explained:

“They want to be able to look into the stands and know you’re there. They want to see you. They don’t have to say anything; they know you’re there.”

As a parent, Lucille also made sure that while supporting her son’s dreams, she let him know it was going to be hard work. She told him that being a student-athlete takes “endless” dedication and that making it to the NBA was “a process.”

She also emphasized how important college was to her children.

And although Shaq left LSU after three years to enter the NBA draft, he kept his promise to his mom. Later in his career, the NBA star returned to LSU to get not only his bachelor’s degree but a Master of Business Administration.

Lucille said:

“All those dreams that he had, and they manifest in front of your eyes… that’s special.”

The CDC reports that it’s important for parents and guardians to show interest and be involved in their child’s school and extracurricular activities.

This includes talking with their child about their concerns as well as celebrating their accomplishments and efforts.

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