When you think of Shaq, you tend to think of his role on the court. He was an immovable force, a player you didn’t want guarding you when you were trying to put up points. Let’s not talk about his free throws, though. To say the least, the man was intimidating when playing basketball.
Now, Shaq isn’t known for just that role, though. Throughout the height of his popularity, he starred in several popular movies, like Kazaam and Good Burger. He’s always had a soft spot for kids, and he even has six of his own. That’s why the news about Shaq that surfaced after the holiday season isn’t surprising.
On a podcast with Gary Vaynerchuk, Shaq revealed that over the 2021 holiday season, he ordered 1,000 Nintendo Switches and 1,000 PS5s to give to underprivileged children. He also bought countless bikes. Shaq said:
I ordered about 1000 Switches and 1000 PS5s. I went to Walmart and got bikes. So you know yesterday, at this little elementary school in McDonough, Georgia, kids were crying, kids were happy. And that’s what it’s all about.
Shaq wasn’t alone in his gift giving, though. He was joined by Tonka, the famous maker of toy trucks, and Pepsi Stronger Together, as well as other organizations. Their goal was to surprise children in order to make their holiday season bright.
This isn’t new for the gentle giant, though. Through his work at the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, he’s been bringing joy to children for years, providing them with things that they want and need. Shaq isn’t just about giving them fun toys, he’s also all about making sure that they can strive for success.
Each year his “Shaq to School” program coordinates with Amazon and Zappos to make sure that kids that can’t afford school supplies receive them. This takes a lot of the stress out of returning to school for their parents, as it can be expensive.
Kids relate to Shaq because, in his own words, he’s silly. When you have that silly demeanor, it makes you more approachable, especially for kids who are silly themselves.
When it comes to good deeds, though, Shaq doesn’t stop with just kids. He is constantly looking out for others, and treating people with the kindness that they deserve. There are countless Shaq stories circling the internet, but we’ve gathered a few that are particularly impressive below.
Shaq was in a jewelry store in Atlanta, when he overheard a young man talking about the high cost of an engagement ring for his soon-to-be wife. Understanding that an engagement ring isn’t the most affordable thing for everyone, and hearing that the young man would have to work for weeks to afford it, he paid for the ring in full, without a second thought.
In 2020, Shaq saw a stranded motorist following a traffic accident on I-75 in Florida. Rather than driving past, Shaq stopped and made sure that she was okay, then remained with her until law enforcement arrived at the scene.
When a 12-year old boy was paralyzed by a stray bullet due to a shootout in Atlanta, what did Shaq do? He purchased the family a house that is entirely wheelchair accessible, understanding the hardship of accessibility on top of a life-changing event.
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When it comes down to it, Shaq may be one of the kindest individuals to walk the planet. He truly wants to do good things for others, and uses his status to do just that. When you’re looking for a role model, think of Shaq.