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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Shaq Buys 10 Pairs of Shoes for Boy With Size 18 Feet Whose Mother Couldn't Afford Them

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For single mom Brittany Keith, purchasing shoes for her 13-year-old son, Zach Keith, was a difficult and expensive task.

Barely a teenager, Zach already wears a size 18 shoe.

Finding a shoe store that carries inventory for extra-large sizes can be tough, and the price tag was more than Brittany could afford.

So, she took to social media to request help for her son, explaining her situation and stating “If you can do anything to help I will be so appreciative.”

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The dilemma was one that basketball star Shaquille O’Neal understood all too well.

O’Neal, who wears a size 23 shoe, surprised Zach at Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta, Georgia, one of O’Neal’s favorites places to shop for shoes.

Not only did Zach get to meet one of the greatest basketball players in recent history, he got basketball tips and advice, Shaq’s personal cell phone number and — of course — many pairs of shoes.

“Mom couldn’t afford shoes. The kid had big feet,” O’Neal told WGCL-TV. “I just kind of reminisced about how that used to be me, my mom and my dad.”

O’Neal, 47, relied on Friedman’s owner, Bruce Teihaber, to keep him well-outfitted with shoes in the past, including the prom shoes he wore as a teenager.

“If they don’t come from Bruce and Friedman’s don’t show them to me,” O’Neal said.

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O’Neal bought young Zach 10 pairs of perfectly fitting shoes, including dress shoes, which his mother said her son had not had in years.

“This will help a lot. I won’t so much have to worry about buying him dress shoes,” Brittany Keith said.

“He hasn’t had a pair of dress shoes in about four or five years because it’s been hard trying to find the ones that actually fit.”

She was deeply moved that someone like O’Neal would care about her son.

“For me it was just very touching, very heartfelt, to know there is someone out there that has his back,” she said.

WGCL reported that O’Neal also gave the boy some spending money and taught him how to practice a few basketball moves inside of the store.

O’Neal was glad to pay it forward, perhaps seeing a bit of himself in the young teen’s face.

“I thought this was a good thing to do,” O’Neal said. “Kid plays basketball, and Bruce did it for me, and I just want to return the favor.”

Keith could not believe that he was the recipient of Shaq’s generosity.

“I’m like, ‘Whoa, he wants to buy me shoes, out of all people?'” the teenager said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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Lifestyle & Human Interest