Hall of Fame basketball star Shaquille O’Neal knows all too well the struggle of finding shoes that fit.
Big and Tall stores like DXL were basically invented for people like the Big Diesel, who wears size 22 shoes.
But size is just part of the problem. As hard as it is to find the specialty shoes, it’s even harder to afford.
Zach Keith, an eighth grader at J.W. Stewart Middle School (Douglasville, Ga.) who will start at Douglas County High School in the fall, has that dilemma.
His mother, Brittany, posted on Instagram asking for help. WGCL put the family in touch with Shaq, who stepped in.
O’Neal has been in the same position before. As an 18-year-old looking for prom shoes, he found Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta, he recalled to WGCL. O’Neal’s father asked if there was a layaway program to help him afford the $180 pair and the owner, Bruce Teilhaber, gave him a pair for free.
When Shaq heard about Keith’s story, he paid it forward.
“I just kind of reminisced to back how that used to be me,” he told WGCL.
So the two went shopping, back to that store that initially helped O’Neal and the one the basketball star has returned to ever since.
“Like, whoa,” Keith said to WGCL. “He wants to buy me shoes, out of all people?”
O’Neal purchased 10 pairs for the 13-year-old.
“This will help a lot,” said Keith’s mom, Brittany. “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.
WGCL said O’Neal plans to keep in touch with Keith and help guide him.