Nearly 300 members of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice were treated to a carnival-style celebration April 1 courtesy of former Los Angeles Lakers center and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.
The four-time NBA champion, whose No. 34 Lakers jersey was retired by the team the following day, paid a visit to the club to host the “SHAQtacular” event for youths. The basketball icon says the events are part of his longstanding commitment to community empowerment and to allow kids to experience the ultimate carnival in the heart of their own community.
“I started SHAQtacular many years ago because all kids deserve amazing memories,” said O’Neal, who won three NBA championships with the Lakers. “The Boys & Girls Club of Venice has an extraordinary history of supporting youth, which makes it a perfect site for this year’s SHAQtacular.”
With the retirement of his Lakers jersey, O’Neal joins other legends Jamaal Wilkes, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Jerry West on the STAPLES Center rafters.
“I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of working with Shaquille over many years,” said Erikk Aldridge, executive director of the club. “His commitment to the community and support of children in need is genuine and heartfelt.”