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Jermaine O’Neal: Where is former Pacers All-Star now?
Jermaine O’Neal averaged 13.2 points and 5.2 rebounds across his 18 years in the NBA. (Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Jermaine O’Neal: Where is former Pacers All-Star now?

DALLAS (BVM) – For many years, all Jermaine O’Neal knew was basketball. He trained hard during his youth which led to a standout high school career, and eventually a jump to the NBA at just 17 years old.

O’Neal had plenty of ups and downs during his 18 years in the NBA, but became a six-time All-Star with the Indiana Pacers, and was a strong post scorer and defender throughout his career. 

While still plenty involved with basketball, O’Neal has broadened his horizons in his post-playing life, and he is finding success at every stop yet again.

Jermaine O’Neal’s early life, high school career

O’Neal was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and attended Eau Claire High School. While he also played football growing up and in high school, O’Neal impressed on the hardwood from a young age.

While at Eau Claire, the future NBA star helped lead his team to a state championship in 1995. By his senior season the following year, O’Neal was averaging over 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks per game as a first-team all-state player. O’Neal was also named South Carolina’s Mr. Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American in his senior year.

Jermaine O'Neal NBA Miami Heat
After entering the league at just 17 years old, Jermaine O’Neal would go on to play for the Blazers, Pacers, Raptors, Heat, Celtics, Suns and Warriors during his 18-year NBA career. (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Although O’Neal had plenty of high-level college offers, he decided to make the jump straight from high school to the NBA, similar to what another South Carolina basketball star had done just before him in Kevin Garnett.

Jermaine O’Neal’s NBA career

O’Neal was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 17th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft at just 17 years old. He was in the same draft class as former NBA greats Ray Allen, Steve Nash and the late Kobe Bryant. 

Although he missed the first few weeks of the season, O’Neal became the youngest person to play in an NBA game when he made his debut in December of 1996 at 18 years, one month and 22 days.

Through the first few years of his NBA career, O’Neal’s youth and inexperience showed. He averaged just over 11 minutes per game across his four seasons in Portland, scoring just under four points per contest. Despite some successful Blazers teams that made appearances in back-to-back Western Conference Finals, the South Carolina native could not crack the rotation.

Seemingly thinking they may have drafted a bust, the Blazers traded O’Neal to the Indiana Pacers for veteran big man Dale Davis. Despite coming off of an NBA Finals appearance, the Pacers went through plenty of turnover alongside franchise centerpiece Reggie Miller. It allowed O’Neal to break through into the starting lineup, starting 80 games in 2000-01. His play improved dramatically, as O’Neal averaged 12.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

The 2000-01 season set the stage for what would become a breakout into stardom for the 6-foot-11 power forward. In 2001-02, O’Neal made his first All-Star appearance as he averaged 19 points and 10.5 rebounds, also winning the NBA Most Improved Player award. O’Neal would average 10 or more rebounds in each of the next two seasons, as well as 20 or more points. 

The Pacers standout’s best scoring season came in 2004-05 when he averaged 24.3 points per game. However, it was a season to forget for O’Neal. Early in the campaign, he was one of the players most notably involved in the “Malice in the Palace,” which earned him a lengthy suspension. By the end of the year, he was dealing with a shoulder injury, limiting him to just 44 games on the season.

O’Neal would play in just 51 games in 2005-06, but still earned his fifth consecutive All-Star nomination. The power forward averaged 19.4 points and 9.6 rebounds in the final All-Star season of his career in 2006-07, and would spend one more season with the Pacers in 2007-08. During that offseason, the Pacers dealt O’Neal to the Toronto Raptors

Jermaine O'Neal Golden State Warriors NBA
Jermaine O’Neal spent his final NBA season with Golden State, just prior to the start of the Warriors’ dynasty. (Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

O’Neal’s tenure in Toronto lasted just 41 games in which he averaged 13.5 points, as he had trouble fitting alongside fellow Raptors bigs Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. He was traded midseason to the Miami Heat where he was solid, but couldn’t help Miami get over the hump in the playoffs as they lost in the first round.

The 2008-09 campaign would be O’Neal’s final with the Heat as he averaged 13.6 points per game. O’Neal signed with Boston the following offseason, but played just 49 games in two years of his Celtics tenure as injuries began to catch up with him. O’Neal spent one season each with Phoenix and Golden State to end his NBA career.

While there were certainly plenty of ups and downs throughout, O’Neal’s overall NBA career was a special one. Spanning 18 seasons, O’Neal averaged 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. However, his Pacers tenure was truly elite. During his eight years in the Hoosier State, O’Neal scored 18.6 points per game, grabbed 9.6 rebounds and averaged 2.4 blocks. The six-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA performer was also a member of Team USA during his time in the pros.

Jermaine O’Neal’s earnings, family life

O’Neal made nearly $168 million in earnings during his 18-year NBA career. He is estimated to have a net worth of around $50 million.

One of the things that the now 44-year-old has dedicated the most time to since his NBA career ended is his family. The former NBA star is married to his wife, Mesha, and the couple has two children: daughter Asjia and son Jermaine Jr.

Both of Jermaine Sr.’s kids have taken after him when it comes to athletic talent. Currently, Asjia is a redshirt senior with the Texas Longhorns volleyball team. Asjia has been a standout for the powerhouse program over the past few years, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors the past two seasons and being named a fourth-team All-American in 2021.

Meanwhile, Jermaine Jr. has excelled at the same sport as his father. Currently playing at Dynamic Prep in Texas, Jermaine Jr. has developed into a four-star talent and top-70 player nationally in the Class of 2025. As just a sophomore, the basketball talent already holds offers from the likes of Arizona State, Missouri, SMU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Jermaine O’Neal’s post-playing life

Despite Jermaine Sr.’s high level of success while he was in the NBA, many people remember him for his involvement in the “Malice at the Palace,” an all-out brawl that occurred in Detroit in 2004 between Pacers players, Pistons players and many fans who were in attendance. Like most involved in the incident, Jermaine Sr. has long declined to talk about that ugly night.

However, that changed in 2021, as Jermaine Sr. was brought on board as an executive producer of Netflix’s “Untold: Malice at the Palace.” Many key members of one of the NBA’s ugliest moments including Jermaine Sr. openly spoke about the events of that night, giving fans a clearer picture of what took place and why it happened.

While the brawl in Detroit will always be one of the memorable moments of Jermaine Sr.’s career, he has shown during retirement that he is nothing like the man in that fight. The 44-year-old has become a philanthropist in retirement, also investing in different restaurants, resorts, and various other firms such as Athos, TrueVault, Zesty and Next Caller.

Jermaine O'Neal Big3 Tri-State
Jermaine O’Neal has suited up for Tri-State in Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league since retiring from the NBA. (Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports)

Of course, he has also not strayed far from the sports world. From its launch in 2017, Jermaine Sr. has been involved with Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league as a member of the board of directors. He was also a team captain and player for Tri-State.

However, the former All-Star’s biggest contributions since his playing days have come through helping the next generation of sports stars. In 2016, Jermaine Sr. founded Drive Nation, a state-of-the-art sports complex near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. At Drive Nation, Jermaine Sr. and other trainers run a basketball skills academy, and help to train and develop young athletes.

More recently in 2020, Jermaine Sr., along with another former NBA All-Star in Tracy McGrady, founded Seven1 Sports & Entertainment Group. Through the new entity, the former NBA stars seek to guide the next generation of athletes to reach their full potential through assistance with marketing strategies, contract negotiations, draft strategy and training, media relations development, career development and day-to-day player management. 

The firm has brought on several clients over the past couple of years, and has become a player in the new NIL landscape of college sports. Currently, Seven1 has big-named college stars such as Drew Timme, Kevin Obanor, Jalen Wilson and Broc Thompson signed to NIL deals with the firm.

After the NBA lifestyle ruled his life for so many years, Jermaine Sr. has now found joy, passion and success through his family and in the business world. The former Pacers All-Star will always be remembered for his NBA stardom, but it’s life outside of the NBA where he is beginning to shine even more.

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