In some tragic news, a Shaq family death has sent the NBA Hall of Fame star home as he learned that his sister passed away.
In a statement by NBA on TNT host Ernie Johnson Jr., he relayed the information that Shaquille O’Neal is the biggest kid in the world and then announced that he was not on the show tonight because his sister had died.
Johnson went on to say that Shaq has said his entire world revolves around his brother and two sisters. One of his sisters, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, aged 40, died of cancer.
The cancer diagnosis came three years ago and Johnson said that when Shaq struggles, they struggle, and they are there with him because he is “one of our brothers.”
Johnson began to choke up when he said that Shaq was back in Orlando with his family, including Ayesha’s son, Bryce.
Johnson said that Shaq is really struggling right now with his loss.
Ayesha Harrison-Jex graduated from FAMU with her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
Johnson went on to say that Ayesha will be laid to rest in a military cemetery, next to Sgt. Phillip A. Harrison, Shaq’s stepdad, who he credited with turning him into the man that he became.
"Big Fella, you hang in there."
Ernie, Kenny, Charles & Commissioner Silver's thoughts are with the O’Neal family pic.twitter.com/5yUtdhjWkZ
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 24, 2019
Charles Barkley, who also works on NBA on TNT with Shaquille O’Neal said that he sent his love to Shaq’s mother, Lucille O’Neal. According to Barkley, she was there for him when his mother died, as the two mothers were close friends for 30 years.
Kenny Smith added that Shaquille O’Neal has always been the “big family guy” with his kids and family always around, making this difficult for those who have worked with him for years, hurting right along with him.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also sent his condolences to Shaq and his family, saying the NBA is a family and it is during times like these that they all come together.