WATCH: Lakers Legend Shaquille O’Neal’s Philanthropy Inspires Potential Future NBA Young Talents

Published 10/25/2021, 4:13 PM EDT
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 24: Shaquille O’Neal attends Shaq’s Papa John’s Pizza Grand Opening on August 24, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.(Prince Williams/Wireimage)


When NBA players retire, most of them look for coaching jobs and job prospects related to basketball. After all, most NBA players owe their entire careers to the sport. And once they retire, it is natural that they want to pass on that knowledge and inspire a better future for young talent.

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However, Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal has added a modern twist to this tradition. He not only inspires but also incentivizes success on the court, which somehow seems to be more effective.

He recently donated $200,000 to renovate the courts at the Doolittle Complex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Additionally, when he went to see the progress of his donation, he also added a bonus incentive for all the kids playing on the court.

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Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal inspires the youth with a bonus twist

At a ceremony attended by Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal on Saturday, two recently renovated basketball courts at the Doolittle Complex were unveiled. During the interaction with the young kids at the ceremony, he offered each kid a laptop if the one kid he chose makes the free throw.

For a kid, this pressure could be the equivalent of the NBA Finals where one free throw decides their fate. And surely, unlike Shaquille for most of his career, the boy made the free throw.

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It seems barbaric to put a young kid in a spot like that where he decides his peers’ future. However, with the bigger picture in mind, this would be akin to the pressure a player faces in the clutch if he has to make free throws to decide an entire team’s fate.

PHOENIX – DECEMBER 21: Shaquille O’Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against of the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 21, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 109-91. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Is Shaquille O’Neal setting the right example and giving the right lessons?

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While it might seem too far-fetched to compare this free throw to the NBA Finals, the lesson that Shaq is teaching here is brutal but for their own good. O’Neil has experienced an immense amount of pressure at the free-throw line throughout his career. Therefore, he just seemingly wanted to teach the kids the importance of holding your nerves in the clutch.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

372 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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