Shaquille O’Neal’s Heart of Gold: The $20k Gift That Brought Tears to His Single Mother’s Eyes

The NBA star Shaquille O’Neal helped out his mother.

The NBA great held his third annual fundraiser on Saturday night, appropriately titled The Event, to benefit his charity, The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation.

O’Neal spent $20,000 at a live auction to secure a spot for his mother Lucille O’Neal front and center during a performance by Jennifer Hudson, Dan+Shay, John Legend, and Anderson Paak.

As a table was being placed on the MGM Grand’s stage in Las Vegas, O’Neal, 51, called to his mother. Lucille was happy to help out her renowned son by dancing for Paak.

The basketball great also won a luxurious Bora Bora holiday for $50,000, bringing his total donation to the evening’s fundraiser for his namesake charity to $70,000.

Even though John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, and Dan + Shay headlined the concert, O’Neal’s charitable work was the night’s main attraction.

Since launching his foundation in 2019, O’Neal has collaborated with the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas and Communities in Schools of Atlanta, both of which are, according to the foundation’s website, near and dear to the heart of the NBA legend, in order to provide opportunities for underserved youth.

At the annual Event, visitors got the opportunity to live-auction off a number of expensive items with O’Neal, including a chance to spend a Saturday hаnging out with the basketball great at his residence. Mark Wahlberg’s company during a round of golf and David Beckham’s company at an Inter Miami soccer game sold for $40,000. The enjoyable event featured an auction, a private concert, and a dinner for invited guests.


“We raised the bar last year, and The Third Event promises to do the same,” O’Neal wrote on the website for his organization before the Saturday event.

I appreciate the performers so much for giving their time to us again. I have no doubt that the night of music and humor they produce will be a moving testimony to the impact that one community can have on the lives of children. It warms my heart to see old friends and new allies coming together to do good in the neighborhood. Let’s make this evening one for the record books!

In 2021, The Event successfully auctioned off items and sold tickets to generate $2.9 million for disadvantaged kids. This goal was far surpassed in 2022, when $3.15 million was collected. Fundraising totals for 2023 are currently unavailable.

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