For decades, Friedman’s has been a haven for big sized athletes like Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson and many others. The phenomenal All-Stars duck there heads as they disembarked and entered the nondescript shoe shop on Mitchell Street in downtown Atlanta.
Recently the Towering Shaquille O’Neal connects with a young athlete. The two have something in common, hard to size big feet!
A Georgia mom struggling to buy shoes for her 13-year-old son’s massive size 18 feet has received a helping hand from none-other-than Shaquille O’Neal.
Brittany Keith of Douglasville, Georgia, posted a plea for help on Instagram Saturday, asking someone to aid her in finding and paying for shoes for her son, Zach Keith.
Zach is a basketball and football player at Stewart Middle School in Douglasville who is already 6 feet 2 inches tall.
‘It’s hard finding shoes and cleats in his size let alone being able to afford them at times. He’s almost in a size 19 and I need help. If you can do anything to help I will be so appreciative,’ Brittany said in her Instagram post.
She tagged Atlanta’s CBS 46 news in the post and the station contacted Shaq.
The NBA legend has lots of experience struggling to buy shoes for his own size 23 feet. He arranged for Brittany and Zach to visit Friedman’s Shoes, O’Neal’s favorite big-and-tall shoe store in Atlanta, which is owned by Bruce Friedman.
Shaq told CBS 46 reporter Sharon Reed he’s bought 3,000 pairs of shoes from Friedman’s over the last 30 years ever since the owner gave him a free pair of dress shoes for prom.
‘Bruce gave me a pair of shoes when I was 18-years-old for free, so I’ma take care of the Zack today because somebody did it for me. I’m doing it for the kid,’ O’Neal said.
Brittany’s said her son didn’t know he was going to meet Shaq during their Wednesday store visit.
‘I told him that we were going to go to a shoe store and that we were just going around looking at shoes and seeing if we could afford a pair,’ she told CBS 46.
The seemingly-shy Zach looked stunned when he walked into the store and saw Shaq sitting on a shoe bench. He stumbled and looked away momentarily before walking up to the NBA legend and shaking his hand.
‘I wasn’t expecting that. To meet Shaquille O’Neal, all star player, one of my all star favorites, surprised, shocked,’ Zach said.
O’Neal ended up buying Zach 10 pairs of shoes.
‘That should last him for a long time,’ he said.
Brittany expressed her gratitude on Facebook and Instagram.
‘I’m so overwhelmed with all types of feelings right now. Thanks to everyone who shared my post. You all helped make this happen and kept pushing me to post… Millions of words can’t express how I’m feeling,’ she said.