No one understands the difficulties of shopping for special-size shoes quite like Shaquille O’Neal. So when the NBA legend heard about 13-year-old Zach Keith, whose single mom has trouble affording size 18 shoes, he quickly sprung into action.
As a young basketball star, Shaq also wore an 18 before his feet grew to a size 23. Much like Keith, Shaq also could not find shoes to fit his large feet.
When Shaq was a teen, he was gifted a free pair of loafers by Bruce Teilhaber, the owner of Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta, in order to attend prom, reported WGCL.
Friedman’s, which has carried larger shoe sizes for years, has become a go-to for athletes like O'Neal, reported CBS News.
"If they don't come from Bruce and Friedman's don't show them to me," O'Neal told the station.
Now, Shaq is the one paying it forward by helping Keith and his mother out with their shoe dilemma.
“Bruce did it for me, and I just want to return the favor,” O’Neal told the local news station.
Keith, who is 6-foot-2, plays basketball and football for Stewart Middle School in Douglasville, Georgia.
Keith’s mother, Brittany, told WGCL it’s difficult for her to afford specially made shoes for her growing son.
This prompted the local news station to orchestrate a surprise shopping spree with Shaq and the Keith family at Friedman’s Shoes.
Instead of helping Keith find one pair of shoes, O’Neal bought him 10 pairs.
“Like, whoa,” Keith told WGCL. “He wants to buy me shoes, out of all people?”
Keith’s mother was overwhelmed and grateful for Shaq’s help. She even admitted she has not been able to buy her son a pair of dress shoes in years.
“This will help a lot,” Brittany Keith said. “I won’t so much have to worry about buying him dress shoes. He hasn’t had a pair of dress shoes in about four or five years because its been hard trying to find the ones that actually fit.”
She also said she was touched by Shaq’s generosity.
“And for me it was just, it was very touching, very heartfelt and to know that there’s somebody out there that has his back.”
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