WATCH: Shaquille O’Neal Challenges Elementary School Student to a Dance-Off

Published 12/21/2021, 7:30 AM EST
Former professional basketball player/author Shaquille O’Neal speaks on stage during LIVE from the NYPL: Shaquille O’Neal held at the New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwartzman Building in New York City. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images)


As Christmas approaches, you know it’s time for Shaq-A-Claus. As a yearly gift-giving tradition, Shaquille O’Neal reached over 500 kids in the McDonough Wesley Lakes Elementary School. Shaq began the morning by distributing food, clothes, toys, and many other things to people in need. Shaq has hosted this event every year since 1997. Originally, his mother inspired him to begin this activity. We have also seen him dancing with a kid this year. During the event, Shaq spoke with the news agency Channel 2 Action News about the following:

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I just want them to be happy. They don’t have to know I’m a basketball player. ” O’Neal said. “I’m at the point now where they can call me Uncle Shaq. I speak their language and know how the school can be.”

UNSPECIFIED – MAY 16: In this screengrab, Shaquille O’Neal speaks during Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 on May 16, 2020. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ)

At Wesley Lakes Elementary, A student defeats Shaquille O’Neal in a dance-off

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Shaq describes doing it according to his mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, saying it was her idea. As he continued, he said that seeing his mother happy was more precious than any commercial or brand deal.

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Shaq appeared on stage with a young kid during the event. The student and Shaq held a dance-off, but it was clear that the kid was going to win due to his impressive moves.

By the vote of the audience, the kid got the maximum amount of hoots and thus won the dance-off. 

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This year, Shaq held the event in several cities including Los Angeles, New Jersey, Compton, and Orlando. In his words, Shaq’s motive was to encourage the kids in life and to leave an impression that they will never forget:

There are three ways to capture the mind: what you read, what you hear, what you see. I want them to see a guy that people call a superstar is just like them,” he said. “At the high school level, I’ll give them a little more information to be a leader, stay out of trouble, never give up. But for kids, especially elementary, it’s about being friendly.”

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Please let us know if you attended that event and your thoughts on this wonderful gift-giving at this wonderful time of the year.

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Anshika Rai

169 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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