(TMU) — While people across Southern California, the United States, and the entire world continue to grieve the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal thanked a fan for his condolences with a surprising act of kindness.
Patrick Martin was out shopping for a new laptop computer at a Best Buy store in McDonough, Georgia, when he ran into Shaq, who is working as a TNT sports analyst in Atlanta.
Martin decided to walk up to the former pro basketball player to extend his sympathies for the death of Shaq’s sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex—who died in October at the age of 40 following a battle with cancer—as well as the untimely loss of Kobe Bryant, 41, who died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and 7 others last weekend.
According to Martin, Shaq was touched by his thoughtful and kind words—so much so that Shaq offered to buy Martin any computer in the store.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Martin wrote:
“So me and Mo just went to Best Buy to buy a laptop and we meet Shaq. We gave our condolences for his sister and Kobe. We walked off, then Shaq comes to us and says, I like yall, so get the nicest one in here and I’ll pay for it.”
Shaq and Kobe were a legendary pair on the court for eight seasons (1996 to 2004) for the Los Angeles Lakers, chalking up an incredible three consecutive NBA championships (2000, 2001, 2002) and an NBA Finals appearance in 2004.
So me and Mo just went to Best Buy to buy a laptop and we meet Shaq. We gave our condolences for his sister and Kobe. We…
On January 26, sports fans across the world were shaken by the news that Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna—herself a budding women’s basketball superstar—were killed in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California. The two were among a total of nine victims including beloved Orange County Pirates baseball coach John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
In a recent episode of his podcast, The Big Podcast with Shaq, O’Neal revealed the depth of his bereavement over the recent loss of his sister and Bryant. He said:
“I’m not doing well, I’m sick. I’m just getting over the death of my sister and I haven’t been sleeping after Ayesha’s death.
You know, not thinking about the good times but thinking about those times where I could’ve did something or could’ve did something different. Or could’ve loved them more.
… When I found out this news [about the crash], I couldn’t do anything. I haven’t eaten, I haven’t slept. I’m sick right now.”
Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. pic.twitter.com/BHBPN5Wq8V
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
In a statement Wednesday, Shaq pledged to donate the proceeds of his Fun House Super Bowl event in Miami to the families of the victims of the helicopter crash. In his statement, he said:
“Been going back and forth the past couple of days on if I should even have my event in Miami this weekend. Part of me wanted to stay to myself as I reflect what my brother and his family mean to me and my family. But in thinking what would Kobe want, what would he do?
Kobe would want us to push through and celebrate life. So let’s do just that.
I’ll be dedicating and donating all my proceeds from Friday night’s Fun House to all the families who lost loved ones and to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation. Together we will celebrate all those who lost their lives in Sundays tragedy. RIP my brother, my friend and my homie, The Black Mamba. Until we meet again.”
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 29, 2020
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