Shaq brings shoes to Phoenix South Mountain

The NBA star surprises 200 community center kids.

by Mona Mcrevy –

NBA star Shaquille O’Neal embraces Major Guy Hawk. [Photo by Bud Dickinson]

Promised a new pair of shoes, 200 kids from the Phoenix South Mountain Corps Community Center waited inside the gymnasium for staff to begin distributing when suddenly, the gym doors opened and a 7’1” man walked in. “It’s Shaq! It’s Shaq! It’s Shaq!” they screamed.

Indeed, Shaquille O’Nealcenter for the Phoenix Suns basketball team arrived at the center with 200 pairs of shoes from his personal line of Nikes. The four-time NBA Champion and All Star player for 14 seasons had insisted on making the presentation to the kids himself, which he did with a grin from ear to ear.

The event was organized through South Mountain Advisory Council Chairman Ted McClure and Charles Cobb, community affairs specialist for the Tempe Police Department.

After welcoming Shaq, Major Guy Hawk, corps officer, presented him with a community service award and lifetime membership to the future Kroc Center at South Mountain.

Shaq addressed the crowd and spent an hour taking photos, presenting shoes, signing autographs, and talking with the young people.

When a member of the corps mentioned how unforgettable this moment would be for the kids, Hawk replied, “For the kids? It was an unforgettable experience for me!”

Before leaving, Shaq said to Hawk, “These kids are amazing! I’ll be back again at Christmas.”

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