Shaquille O’Neal held his yearly “Shaq-a-Clause” event in Henry County, Georgia, and made sure Wesley Lakes Elementary School one of his stops.
Shaq gave out brand new toys and high-fives to the children he has become so familiar with that they call him “Uncle Shaq” at the elementary school.
Shaq has been spreading the holiday cheer through his Shaq-a-Clause since 1997. During the event, he gives out toys, clothes, and school supplies to kids in need. This year, Shaq’s Christmas sleigh visited children across Los Angeles, New Jersey, Compton, and Orlando. He says that his mother is the one that inspired him to begin the tradition:
The great Dr. Lucille O’Neal, who happens to be my mother, always said if I can help those in need, do it… For me, it’s a better feeling having her smile. Better than any commercial I’ve done. Better than any deal that I’ve done.
It is reassuring to see celebrities like Shaq use Christmas as a time to spread joy to those in need. O’Neal told WSBTV that each Christmas, he tries to “mix it up” with different surprises for the students of Wesley Lakes Elementary. In this tweet, you can see Shaq pictured in Wesley Lakes Elementary School’s gymnasium, which he filled with racks of new bikes and toys for the over 500 students:
Shaq is a truly admirable American. His Shaq-a-Clause event isn’t some publicity stunt. Instead, it is the best way he knows to put a smile on the face of children during the holiday season. When WSBTV asked why he holds this yearly Christmas event, he stated:
I just want them to be happy. They don’t have to know I’m a basketball player… I’m at the point now where they can call me Uncle Shaq. I speak their language and know how school can be.
For a celebrity of such high status to be making genuine connections with Georgia elementary school students is one of the most touching Christmas stories you can ask for. It’s not just elementary school students that Shaq reaches out to. He also strives to create more stable communities through outreach to high school students, as you can see from this quote:
“There are three ways to capture the mind: what you read, what you hear, what you see. I want them to see a guy that people call a superstar is just like them… At the high school level, I’ll give them a little more information to be a leader, stay out of trouble, never give up. But for kids, especially elementary, it’s about being friendly.”
He is notorious for doing random acts of kindness each day, most of which go unnoticed by the media. Just take a look at this example where Shaq paid for the engagement ring of a young man struggling to complete his payments to the jewelry store:
Shaquille O’Neal’s character is a breath of fresh air from our celebrity class, which is usually wrapped up in leftist talking points. From his Shaq-a-Clause event, it is clear that he is one of the most respectable figures in modern American life.