When the TNT Inside The NBA broadcast went live yesterday, notably Shaquille O’Neal was missing. Soon as the show went on air, Ernie revealed that Shaq was out because he was dealing with the death of his sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex.
Harrison-Jex died from cancer on Thursday, she was 40-years-old.
She was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, O’Neal didn’t know his biological father growing up and he was raised by his stepfather, Phillip A. Harrison, who is Ayesha’s father.
Host Ernie Johnson said of O’Neal, “When he struggles, we struggle with him because he’s one of our brothers. … He said his world revolves around his brother and two sisters, and he lost one of his sisters this morning, far too early.”
Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver joined the show to send his condolences to the O’Neal family as well.
“It’s times like this when we’re all together,” Silver said on the broadcast.
O’Neal was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He has also won four NBA titles and three Finals MVPs in his career.
Johnson added that O’Neal, 47, is currently in Orlando, Florida, to be with his family. The basketball star responded to Thursday’s Inside the NBA episode on Twitter, writing, “Thanks for the condolences and the love. If I had older brothers, it would be you 3. Love y’all and love you more Candice.”