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Paying it Forward: Shaquille O’Neal Buys 10 Pairs of Shoes for 13-Year-Old Who Wears a Size 18

An owner of a shoe store did something nice for Shaquille O’Neal almost 30 years ago, and the NBA legend passed that same kindness on to a Georgia teen.

Zach Keith is a 6’2″ 13-year-old student at Stewart Middle School in Douglasville, Ga., who already wears a size 18 shoe, which poses a problem for his mother Brittany Keith. For one, it’s difficult for her to find shoes that actually fit her son, plus, she doesn’t have the money at times.

Zach Keith (L) received 10 pair of shoes from Shaquille O’Neal, who bought them after his mom Brittany Keith (R) asked for help. (Photo: @brittsintuition Instagram)

So on Saturday (May 4), she posted an Instagram message and asked for some assistance.

“I’m a single parent of a 13 year old who wears a size 18 shoe,” she wrote. “He plays basketball and football for J.W. Stewart Middle School and will be attending Douglas County High School in the fall. It’s hard finding shoes and cleats in his size let alone being able to afford them at times. He’s almost in a size 19 and I need help. If you can do anything to help I will be so appreciative.”

Brittany Keith also tagged companies like Nike, Reebok, Adidas and Puma, as well as the NBA, the NFL and a few local news stations including CBS 46, who contacted O’Neal.

The TNT hoop analyst, along with CBS 46’s Sharon Reed, met Keith at Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta on Wednesday, and O’Neal bought him 10 pair of shoes.

The hall of famer said when he was 18 and couldn’t find size 18 shoes for his prom, Friedman’s owner Bruce Teilhaber gave him some for free.

That made the former Los Angeles Laker want to pay that kind act forward. O’Neal also said he’s bought over 3,000 shoes from Friedman’s since he was given that free pair.

At the time, Keith didn’t know the former NBA star was going to be at the store, his mother just told him they’d be going shoe shopping.

“Like, whoa, he wants to buy me shoes out of all people?” Keith told the local news outlet about O’Neal.

His mom was also floored by the gift.

“This will help a lot,” stated Brittany Keith. “I won’t so much have to worry about buying him dress shoes. He hasn’t had a pair of dress shoes in about four or five years because its been hard trying to find the ones that actually fit. And for me it was just, it was very touching, very heartfelt and to know that there’s somebody out there that has his back.”

She posted a thank you on Instagram as well.

“I’m am so overwhelmed with all types of feelings right now. Thanks to everyone who shared my post. You all helped make this happen and kept pushing me to post,” wrote the grateful mom.

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