shaquille o neal

Teen with size 23 feet receives new shoes from Shaq

Any adult responsible for raising a teen will tell you that not only do teens eat a lot and sleep nearly as much as they did as infants, they also grow quickly. Sometimes it feels like their growth spurts are literally happening overnight. You go to sleep with a squeaky voiced teenager that's still shorter than you only to wake up to what appears to be a fully grown man wearing your child's clothes.

It's no wonder that parents can have a hard time keeping up with the ever changing clothes and shoe sizes that come with a growing teen. But Tamika Neal's son has surpassed what would be considered the average height and weight of a 16-year-old, which means he's also outgrown sizes carried in the stores.

According to Cincinnati Children's Hospital, boys aged 16 are typically between 5-foot-3 and 6-foot, weighing between 104 to 180 pounds. Jor'el Bolden is a towering 6-foot-5 and 380 pounds with a size 23 shoe.

Except, Bolden's mom couldn't find a size 23 shoe for her son to wear. Out of options, the mother son duo turned to the local news station in Missouri where they live, KCTV 5 to explain the inability to find shoes that fit him. It didn't take long for the story to pick up steam and soon enough it caught the attention of someone that knows all too well how hard it is to find extra large shoes.

Shaquille O'neal, retired NBA player who stands at 7-foot-1, weighs 324 pounds and wears a size 22 shoe, came to the rescue. Entertainment Tonight got in contact with Bolden's mother and informed her that Shaq wanted to speak to them. According to KCTV 5, the duo FaceTimed the NBA legend who informed them that they should be expecting something in the mail from him.

Shaq sent along three boxes full of clothes and 20 pairs of shoes for the teen, some of them were from Shaq's own closet. Neal told the news station, “It’s better than Christmas morning, Santa didn’t send this, Shaq did."

Neal explained to USA TODAY that Bolden has always had above average sized feet since birth. Due to his size, Neal had to forgo the cute soft baby shoes that usually come with baby outfits and resort to socks only. The only shoes Neal could find before Shaq's gift was on eBay and were a size too small causing Bolden's feet to hurt when he walked.

Since the mom was having such a hard time finding her son shoes, she had originally started a GoFundMe page to pay for custom shoes to be made, it has currently raised just over $12,000. After she went on the news, donations poured in, which Neal says will be used to go towards larger shoes when the time comes. Since Bolden is only 16, he will likely have another growth spurt which will require an even larger shoe size, but for now she's thankful he can now walk without discomfort thanks to the NBA star.

"“Thank you for taking the time and the money that you have earned to give to me when I needed it,” Bolden tells KCTV 5, “Thank you for all of the things that will come from it and that already have.”

This isn't the first time Shaq has helped out a teen struggling to find shoes. March 2023, Eric Kilburn Jr. and his mom were struggling to find the 6-foot-10, high school freshman a pair of size 23 shoes as well when the NBA star reached out to gift him with new shoes. Maybe instead of the tooth fairy, Shaq is becoming the shoe fairy to some very lucky, very tall teenagers.

An unsuspecting guy at a shopping mall Zales got the surprise of his life this week while trying to pay off part of his engagement ring.

As the young man talked with the clerk at the jewelry store counter about how much he still owed for his ring and when he'd be able to pay it off, an extraordinarily large hand handed the clerk a credit card. Shaquille O'Neal, the 7' 1'' basketball legend known colloquially as "Shaq," overheard their conversation and decided to take care of the bill himself. No big announcement. No fanfare. He just handed over his credit card, shook the stunned customer's hand and patted him on the back, and that was that.

Someone caught the moment on video and shared it, which prompted Shaq's co-hosts on NBA on TNT to ask him about it the next day.

One of the first questions was, "You went to the mall, and went to Zales?!?" Not exactly where one would expect a person with a $400 million net worth to be hanging out on a Monday, but Shaq pointed out that he has a jewelry line at Zales. He went in to get some hoop earrings. Alrighty.

The young man at the checkout counter was so shy, Shaq said, and when he heard him talking about paying for his engagement ring, Shaq asked him how much it was and offered to pay for it.

At first, the guy refused, but Shaq insisted. And apparently, he does these random acts of generosity all the time.

He said he was recently in a furniture store (seriously, do multi-millionaires not shop online?) and saw a mom with an autistic daughter buying furniture. He just took care of their bill, just because.

"I'm into making people happy," he said. "I didn't mean for that to get out because I don't do it for that...I'm just trying to make people smile, that's all."

Shaq's generosity is well-documented, despite his preference to keep much of it under wraps. In a 2015 interview with Graham Bessinger, he explained how his father's charity—despite their family not having a lot of money—influenced him.

After giving the family's bag of hamburgers to a homeless veteran, his father got into the family car and told him, "If you ever make it big time, make sure you help those in need."

Shaq remembered those words and engages in charity in a range of ways, "because of what a man who made $30,000 a year taught me," he said. "And a woman who was a secretary who probably made $20,000 a year—they taught me that."

His giving comes "from the heart," he said. He's not looking for attention or accolades—he just wants to make people happy.

"I'm doing this because this is what I was taught," he said. "I'm doing it because to walk in there and see a family, put a smile on their face for a day, that's just awesome to me."

Shaq on helping others when no one is lookingwww.youtube.com

"That's my thing. I just want to make you smile," he said.

Shaq once asked a restaurant server how much of a tip she wanted, and when she quipped "$4,000," he gave it to her. When a 12-year-old was paralyzed by a stray bullet in a shooting, Shaq donated a whole house to his family. A fan who saw Shaq in a Best Buy offered condolences to the star for the untimely death of Shaq's friend and former teammate Kobe Bryant, as well as Shaq's sister Ayesha, who had recently passed away from cancer. He was treated to a new laptop—the best one in the store.

Many of us like to daydream about what we'd do if we had more money than we know what to do with. And many of us like to picture ourselves being generous with our wealth, helping out random folks who could use some help.

Charitable giving looks like a lot of different things, from funding organizations to distributing money through a foundation to handing over a bag of burgers to someone who's hungry. It's just delightful to see wealthy people who not only support official charitable organizations with money and time (Shaq serves as a national spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and is a member of the national Board of Directors for Communities in Schools in addition to raising and donating millions of dollars to various causes) but who also just help out random people everywhere they go.

Kudos to Shaq's parents for teaching him so well, and kudos to him for taking their lessons to heart.


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