Shaquille O'Neal Buys Shoes for Teen with Size 18 Feet after Mom's Plea
Shaquille O'Neal responded to a Georgia single mother's appeal and bought her 13-year-old son 10 pairs of shoes.
Single mom Brittany Keith, of Douglasville, Georgia, was having trouble finding - and paying - for shoes for her 13-year-old son, Zach Keith.
Friends encouraged her to reach out through social media and ask for help, and basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal responded.
"I’m a single parent of a 13 year old who wears a size 18 shoe. He plays basketball and football for J.W. Stewart Middle School and will be attending Douglas County High School in the fall. It’s hard finding shoes and cleats in his size let alone being able to afford them at times. He’s almost in a size 19 and I need help. If you can do anything to help I will be so appreciative."
A MOTHER'S APPEAL FOR HELP REACHED SHAQ O'NEAL
Brittany was having a hard time finding shoes for her son who is already 6 feet 2 inches tall, and a friend suggested that she post an appeal on Instagram, reaching out to footwear brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Reebok; as well as several local TV stations.
CBS46 read her appeal and passed it along to Shaquille O'Neal, who put his best foot forward, and offered to buy Zach some shoes.
MEETING SHAQ O'NEAL AT HIS FAVORITE SHOE STORE
Shaq, who is 7′ 1″ himself, and wears a size 23 shoe sympathized with Brittany's quandary and arranged to meet her and Zach at his favorite Atlanta shoe store, Friedman's Shoes, which specializes in the big-and-tall.
Friedman's owner Bruce Friedman gave the 18-year-old Shaq a pair of shoes for the prom, free.
ZACH'S SURPRISE AT MEETING HALL OF FAMER
Brittany didn't tell Zach they were meeting up with his NBA icon, as far as the 13-year-old was concerned, they were hunting for shoes.
"I told him that we were going to go to a shoe store and that we were just going around looking at shoes and seeing if we could afford a pair," Brittany revealed.
When he saw his hero sitting in the store, Zach was stunned, and was visibly moved as he shook Shaq's hand,
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL PAYS IT FORWARD
The basketball star revealed that many years ago, Friedman's owner Bruce Friedman gave the 18-year-old Shaq a pair of shoes for the prom, free.
"Bruce gave me a pair of shoes when I was 18-years-old for free, so I'ma take care of the kid today because somebody did it for me. I'm doing it for the kid," he said.
Shaq, who has bought over 3,000 pairs of shoes from Friedman's in the last 30 years bought Zach 10 pairs of shoes.
Brittany was overwhelmed by Shaq's generosity and expressed her gratitude on social media.
"I’m am so overwhelmed with all types of feelings right now. Thanks to everyone who shared my post. You all helped make this happen and kept pushing me to post... Words can’t express how I’m feeling," she said.
Maybe Zach, who plays football and basketball will have the chance to do the same for another young man in 30 years time, and keep Shaquille O'Neal's generous gesture moving forward into the future.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL'S WORK WITH CARDIAC DISEASE
Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal is not just using his fame and influence to help young boys like Zach Keith, he spends a great deal of his time raising awareness in the Black community with regards to cardiac disease.
The hard realities of the disease were brought home to Shaq when his 18-year-.old son Shareef had to undergo open heart surgery.
He has launched a project “Shaquille Gets Real about Heart Failure” focused on educating families about the importance of the early detection of heart conditions.
According to statistics, African-Americans are twenty times more likely to develop heart failure than other ethnic groups before the age of 50.