Shaquille O’Neal makes amazing gesture to teenager struggling to find shoes big enough for his feet, leaving him ‘shocked’
NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal has ‘shocked’ Eric Kilburn Jr. with an amazing gesture by calling the Michigan teenager to help him with his shoe problem.
The 14-year-old boy made headlines in March when his mother described how the footballer, who wears a size 23, struggled to find shoes that fit.
And O’Neal, who wears shoes a size smaller than Kilburn, sympathized with the Flint native – whose struggles have resulted in permanent toenail removals and sprained ankles.
The former Los Angeles Lakers superstar reached out to the boy a few weeks ago, Eric told Hometown Life.
And the next day, Reebok sent him several pairs of custom shoes made for Shaq that were in the manufacturer’s inventory.
“I was stunned,” Kilburn said of the call. “My soul left my body for a moment, I was so shocked.”
Kilburn said O’Neal told him his mother also found it difficult to find shoes for the budding NBA Hall-of-Famer at the time.
The four-time NBA champion reportedly added that he wants to get Eric dress shoes from a shoemaker friend in the future.
The five pairs of 22s Kilburn received, while technically undersized, reportedly have more toe room than the shoes the boy used to wear.
And judging by the Facebook post recently shared by his mum Rebecca, the new kicks are feeling more comfortable.
“The blessings just keep coming!” she wrote, adding pictures of her son wearing the new Rebook shoes.
“Reebok – you really touched our hearts and made this kid so very happy!
“Reebok and Shaquille (yes Shaq!!! SO cool!!) reached out and said they would like to help Eric feel more comfortable while he waits for his custom shoes and they have a pair of 22’s in their inventory for Shaq to send to Eric.
“The package just arrived and he’s in shoe heaven!
“I quote, ‘Mom, I can’t remember ever being able to choose what to wear like this, there are so many choices!’
“WOW. My heart overflows when I see the joy on his face…God is good and so is Reebok!”
Kilburn and O’Neal have connected a few more times since the surprise phone call.
And the NBA legend has doubled down on his support for the youngster.
“When he and I were texting about shoes, [Shaq] said: “There is much more to come, great man. I love you,'” Eric told Hometown Life.
“This is the ultimate.”
Under Armor and Puma executives said they had also linked up with Kilburn and tried to provide the young footballer with comfortable shoes.