Shaquille O’Neal on Turning Santa Claus for 500 Poor Kids on Christmas Day: “I Buy Them Real Toys. I Don’t Want to Do Promotional Toys”

Published 12/19/2021, 9:30 AM EST
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: Shaquille O’Neal arrives ahead of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


NBA superstar, Shaquille O’Neal is known for his dominance on the court.  Through the years, O’Neal has donated to charities and contributed to society. A successful businessman and an investor, the superstar has always given back to society in any way possible.

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In an interview with Kit Hoover and Loni Love on Access Daily recently, O’Neal discussed his gesture on Christmas as a way to thank his mother. He talks about how the entire phenomenon popularly known as “Shaq-a-Claus” began.

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Is there a reason why Shaquille O’Neal donates toys every Christmas?

In the interview, he discussed “Shaq-A-Claus” which began in 1992. He spoke about an incident in which his mother, Lucille O’Neal called him to describe an event she was organizing at the Boys and Girls Club. She had been asking for help because some kids didn’t have Christmas presents.

There were around 400 to 500 kids at the event. Following this, O’ Neal rented two U-Haul trucks and mentioned:

We went to Toys “R” Us and we just wiped them out.

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MCDONOUGH, GEORGIA – APRIL 07: Shaquille O’Neal speaks during Pepsi Stronger Together and CTG Foundation Atlanta Law Enforcement on April 07, 2021 in McDonough, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Pepsi Stronger Together)

In response to a question about his experience of meeting the kids at the Boys and Girls Club, he said:

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I mean they’re very excited and you know I can remember every now and then not a lot every now and then you know my parents didn’t have a lot to give me what I wanted for Christmas so you know me being the juvenile delinquent that I am I always got to find out”.

“And I buy them real toys I don’t want to do promotional toys and give them little toys I buy them scooters I buy them bikes I buy them drones I buy them Xboxes”.

He ensured that they felt comfortable and felt that they were getting everything they need. Ultimately, he wished to make their home a happy one.

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We’d like to know your reaction to this heartwarming gesture by O’Neal.

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Anshika Rai

163 articles

Anshika Rai is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Anshika has been following NBA for many years now.

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