Not just someone who's large in stature, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal has just proven he's got a very big heart as well. Recently, the NBA Hall of Famer and The Shaquille O'Neal Foundation partnered up with Soles4Souls and Reebok to help distribute 500 new pairs of shoes to elementary schoolchildren. On Friday, Shaq also visited the Wesley Lakes Elementary School in McDonough, Georgia, to put smiles on children's faces at the end of the school year.
"It's all about the kids," Shaq said. "The two things that really hurt me this year were seeing 40 million people out of work, and I hate seeing kids that don't have what they need."
Organizers involved with the donations will help distribute the remaining pairs of shoes to kids in need this summer. The good deed is one of many efforts undertaken by Shaq to help others in the Henry County area. Last year, he helped with donating gifts to children during the holiday season with a Christmas toy drive. The Shaquille O'Neal Foundation and its partners also helped high school athletes and programs affected by the pandemic in February, providing grants to 136 schools from around the United States.
A four-time NBA champion, Shaq is one of the most well-known basketball players of all time. He retired from the sport in 2011 after a 19-year career, but remains very much involved as an NBA analyst. As an actor, Shaq starred in the DC superhero movie Steel and the genie movie Kazaam in the 1990s. And his other big screen credits include Freddy Got Fingered, Scary Movie 4, and Grown Ups 2. Last year, he appeared in the Netflix comedy Hubie Halloween.
In a previous interview with Forbes, Shaq spoke more about The Shaquille O'Neal Foundation. The NBA legend revealed the charity's plans to partner up with local organizations including Boys & Girls Clubs and Communities in Schools, helping to raise millions of dollars worth of school supplies for children across the country. Last year, the foundation teamed up with Icy Hot to commit $320,000 in grants to Title 1 high schools with sports programs impacted by the pandemic, and another partnership with American Express provided $10 million in grants to suffering Black-owned businesses.
"This is the time to create something to build a brighter future for children and motivate helping kids," O'Neal told Forbes. "Our mission is just to help underserved youth by providing them with resources, and opportunities. You know, a lot of people, especially our kids, our children, don't have that. These kids need somebody to look up to. They need stuff to do. And we want to provide that."
Of his philanthropy, Shaq added: "I'm doing this because this is what I was taught to do by Dr. Lucille Amir, who happens to be my mother."
Fans who want to get to know O'Neal a little better can watch the TNT reality series Shaq Life. The docuseries chronicles "a man with a legendary sense of humor, an enormous heart and endless determination." You can find out more about the series and watch footage from different episodes at TNTdrama.com. This story comes to us from Fox 5 Atlanta.