Last summer, a horrendous act of violence occurred in a high school in Atlanta. However, as so often is the case, the tragedy ultimately led to something good. Two months after the disaster, basketball legend Shaq heard about one victim’s story and decided to change his and his family’s lives.
Shaq Buys A Home For The Family
Often it’s hard to find the good in people after a tragic story of violence. However, this one incredible gesture NBA star Shaquille O’Neal made towards a young boy’s family will warm your heart and restore your faith in humanity.
It all started on August 17 of this year. Outside of a high school football game, a shooter fired into crowds. Horribly, multiple people received injuries, including 12-year-old Isaiah Payton. Unfortunately, a bullet paralyzed Isaiah from the waist down. The situation became even worse when the teenager needed to in the hospital longer than usual because he could not return home. Young Payton’s family home featured only a single bedroom, which wasn’t fit or accessible for Isaiah’s needs and physical condition. His mother had no idea what to do but never lost faith. “I believe in miracles,” she said, “and God — he is a powerful man.”
Thankfully, all hope was not lost, and a miracle was on the way…
The Amazing Deed
As you might imagine, Payton’s story quickly went viral. Thanks to the many who shared the story, Shaq heard about the young man’s story and sprung into action. The NBA star found the boy’s family a new house that is wheelchair-accessible and will even pay the rent through the following year! Now, little Isaiah’s mother doesn’t have to decide between having her son at home and having him in a hospital, where he can receive treatment.
In an interview with WXIA-TV, O’Neal said, “I reached out to the family because I wanted to see the son. I’m going to pay [the house] rent for the year, and I’m going to give [the family] some furniture. And it’s sad because [the mother’s] son is paralyzed from the chest down, and no mother should have to go to that.”
“It Could Have Been My Son”
And so, Shaq found a home for the family in Atlanta. The four-time NBA champion has a close connection with Papa John’s CEO, Rob Lynch, as well as the chain’s Chairman of the Board Jeff Smith – and together, they will pay for the house. Shortly afterward, Isaiah’s mother quit her job to take care of her son, exactly what the both needed. As you might imagine, the family feels overwhelmed and grateful for the NBA star’s actions.
However, for him, Shaq says that it was a no-brainer. After all, as he said, “I was watching the story, and it’s just sad. It could have been any one of us. It could have been my son.”