Shaq’s Big Day in Columbus

By Chelsa Messinger

He's a 5-Time NBA Champion, a 16-Time NBA All-Star, not to mention, one of basketball's biggest celebrities.

Shaquille O'Neal made Columbus his home for the day, and it was all for a good cause.

Hundreds of kids came out to Carver and Spencer High School to get pointers from the big man himself, as Shaq was the guest of honor at the Annual Sam Mitchell Camp in Columbus.

“I think kids relate to me,” said O'Neal. “I'm the guy, for some reason, that is the portal to being a regular guy.”

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson declared today, “Shaq Day” in Columbus, and awarded him a key to the city.

Shaq says he has more in common with the Columbus/Fort Benning area than most people realize.

“I'm a military child,” said O'Neal. “I've been through the same thing these kids have been through. I always tell them, if I did it, with these conditions, so can they.”

Some celebrity athletes may feel more comfortable on the red carpet, but O'Neal says he feels right at home helping out with kids.

“I'm good with children because one of my jobs growing up, was to baby sit my little brothers and sisters,” said O'Neal. “So I had to come up with creative ways to keep their attention.”

And the kids were certainly appreciative.

“Yeah it was cool to me, I had never seen an NBA player at my school before,” said Spencer Junior Shakur Warner. “It was cool to me. It felt great when I saw him walk in.”

“Shaq.. he really surprised me. I didn't expect it,” said Spencer Senior Tyrin Cowart. “I heard people saying it but I didn't even believe he was coming.”

July 24th was “Shaq Day” in Columbus, but now it's back to Los Angeles for O'Neal. The cross-over movie star can be seen in Adam Sandler's “Grown-Ups 2” set to hit theatres July 25.




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