The pair were reportedly at a family event and in photos snapped by the agency Backgrid, it appeared Shaq was getting playfully cozy with the mother of his four children.
The first photo shows Shaq standing behind the “Basketball Wives” star and giving her a bear hug as she smiles and puts her hands up turning away from him. The next image shows the NBA Hall of Famer letting go of O’Neal as the two appear to laugh at the moment.
In response, fans glimpsed the images and hoped for a reunion between the long-divorced stars.
“I’ve always rooted for them, even after the divorce ❤️.”
“I’m here for this 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽”
“Love never dies it’s there saying are you ready yet 💯❤️❤️❤️❤️”
“Shaunie please give that man another chance m m 👏”
Adding fuel to the flames was Shaq’s response to basketball mom Monique Payton, who is the mother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Gary Payton II.
“Here comes the speculations,” Payton wrote accompanied by a group of various emoji.
O’Neal wasn’t too enthralled, as she simply left an emoji meaning “shaking my head.”
However, her ex of a decade, Shaq, was all for it, apparently.
“That’s mine,” he commented.
Yet for all the hubbub over the fans — who have previously gotten excited over a potential rekindling of romance — wanting the couple to reunite, it definitely won’t happen.
For one, Shaq has been linked to “Chicago Fire” actress Annie Ilonzeh since January after they were spotted strolling in New York City hand-in-hand.
Additionally, O’Neal herself has previously shut down any hopes for a reunion between the two, who have succeeded in co-parenting their children apart.
“People are always like, ‘oh, you guys should get back together’ — no, that’s not happening,” she said to Life & Style last May. “We just are cool and we can function and we respect each other’s space and it’s good.”
The pair, who were married for five years before Shaq filed for divorce from O’Neal in 2007, worked hard to get to be able to be friends and raise their children as ex-spouses.
“We’re great now, but it took a long time,” the VH1 star told the magazine. “Like, we definitely did not have the relationship that we have now the first few years. I mean, we’re going on eight years of being divorced now and I’d have to say the good first five [or] six were really rough. We could function, but it was rough. Now I think we just got over the hump, and I’ve always kind of been [like], ‘What’s best for the kids,’ and I’ll make it happen no matter what. Even if he and I can’t see eye to eye, I didn’t want them to ever be affected by it and I think he felt the same way. But it was really really hard.”