Former NBA great Shaquille O’Neal surprised a 13-year-old basketball player with new shoes after learning the teen’s mother can’t afford to buy her son size 18 sneakers.
The retired NBA star surprised Zach Keith, a young basketball player from Georgia, with 10 pairs of extra-large specialty shoes after hearing of the family’s financial struggles.
“Mom couldn’t afford shoes. The kid had big feet,” O’Neal, who wears size 23 shoes, explained to WGCL-TV. “I just kind of reminisced about how that used to be me, my mom and my dad.”
O’Neal arranged to meet the teen at Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta, known for carrying shoes for people with massive feet, and surprised Keith with a bit of a shopping spree.
“I’m like, ‘Whoa, he wants to buy me shoes, out of all people?'” Keith told the news station.
O’Neal told WGCL-TV the store owner, Bruce Teilhaber, had helped the NBA star out over the course of his career and wanted to help give back to someone in need.
“I thought this was a good thing to do,” O’Neal said. “Kid plays basketball, and Bruce did it for me, and I just want to return the favour.”
O’Neal made sure the teen had a variety of shoes and not just sneakers, buying the teen a “special” pair of shoes for the Grade 8 dance.
“This will help a lot. I won’t so much have to worry about buying him dress shoes,” Keith’s mother told the news station. “He hasn’t had a pair of dress shoes in about four or five years because it’s been hard trying to find the ones that actually fit.”