Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most famous basketball players of all time, and one of the most recognizable sports figures in the world. In addition to his incredible 19-season career in the NBA, Shaq is a prominent media personality, including as a sports analyst on Inside the NBA.
But Shaq often makes headlines for things that have nothing to do with basketball. He has become known for his generous personality, doing random acts of kindness for complete strangers.
And the NBA legend’s most recent good deed has a lot of people smiling, after Shaq donated hundreds of pairs of shoes to kids in need.
According to WSBTV, the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation teamed up with footwear company Reebok and non-profit organization Soles4Souls to provide 500 pairs of shoes to kids in Henry County, Georgia.
A hundred pairs were handed out at Wesley Lakes Elementary School, with Shaq there in person to hand out the shoes himself. In addition to getting a brand new, completely free pair of shoes, the kids got to meet one of the biggest living sports legends.
Shaq owns a home in the Henry County area, so he was giving back to kids who are part of his own local community.
Basketball stars are often associated with shoes; Shaq’s own sneaker endorsement deal with Reebok began all the way back in 1992. But this project is all about getting shoes to kids whose families might not be able to afford them. Many families have struggled with unemployment over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s all about the kids,” Shaq told WSB-TV. “The two things that really hurt me this year were seeing people out of work and I hate seeing kids without what they need.”
Soles4Souls has donated over 60 million pairs of shoes over the past 15 years, and in their collaboration with Shaq they plan to donate 500 pairs to Henry County by the end of the summer.
This is far from the first time Shaq has gone viral with a good deed. Last month, he was spotted paying for a stranger’s engagement ring after the man was struggling to pay it off.
“I’m just trying to make people smile, that’s all,” Shaq later explained on NBA on TNT, saying he often does things like this for strangers.
And it’s not even the first time Shaq has gone viral for donating free shoes.
In another inspirational good deed, in 2019 Shaq got involved after a 13-year-old with unusually large feet couldn’t afford the size 18 shoes he required.
Shaq, a very large man who also wears an 18 shoe, recalled how people helped him get shoes when he was starting out and payed it forward by buying the teen ten pairs of shoes.
“The kid had big feet and I just kind of reminisce back how that used to be me my mom and my dad,” he told CBS 46.
According to WSB-TV, some of Shaq’s other recent good deeds include donating PPE equipment to Georgia high school athletic programs so they could safely play after being hit by the pandemic.
He also gave out $5,000 worth of gifts to local kids during the holidays.
Shaq isn’t just one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he’s one of the most generous celebrities around. Thank you for always looking out for people, we can’t wait to see what you do next!
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