The NBA seems to be the gift that keeps on giving these days.
On August 17, a 12-year-old boy by the name of Isaiah Payton was leaving a high school football game in Atlanta when a stray bullet struck his spine. The incident left him completely paralyzed from the chest down.
As if that story wasn’t crushing enough on its own, it gets worse. Ever since the incident, the young boy hasn’t been able to leave the hospital because his family’s home is not accessible for wheelchairs.
Retired NBA basketball player Shaquille O’Neal heard the tragic story and immediately reached out to Payton’s mother. He wanted to find her a house so that the boy could be home and somewhat live in comfort. He believed that no parent should ever have to go through that.
“We found her a house,” O’Neal told WXIA Atlanta. “I’m going to pay her rent for the year and I’m going to give her some furniture and it’s sad because her son is paralyzed from the chest down and no mother should have to go to that.”
The NBA star went on to find a one-bedroom home in Atlanta, GA for the boy, his brother and his mother. It’s located in the College Park neighborhood.
O’Neal’s connection to Papa John’s definitely did not hurt the situation. CEO Rob Lynch and chairman of the board Jeff Smith both chipped in to help with the home as well.
O’Neal continued to tell WXIA: “We’re going to give her some furniture, TVs and pay her rent off for a year and help her get on her feet.”
The injuries did not stop there, either. During the shooting, Payton’s friend Damean Spear also suffered a gunshot wound to his leg. A 15-year-old boy, name unreleased, has been charged with aggravated assault in connection to the incident.
Atlanta police chief Erika Shields said on Thursday: “This was a reckless, heartless and cowardly act of violence that forever changed the life of a 12-year-old child and his family and deeply affected another juvenile.”
Payton’s life will be forever changed due to this reckless incident — his family’s life will be changed forever as well. It’s these acts of kindness though — thanks to O’Neal, Lynch, and Smith — that prove that there are also good people out there who are kind, who care, and who are willing to help.
In other NBA news, pro basketball player Harrison Barnes and his wife Brittany are also helping save the world, by helping covering the funeral costs for slain woman in Dallas, Atatiana Jefferson. Additionally, former basket ball champion Michael Jordan opened up a $7 million health-care clinic to serve underprivileged communities in Charlotte.
These men can play some serious basket ball, but they are also proving that they are capable of much more than just shooting some hopes. They are helping lives everywhere, and slowly but surely changing the world!
All of these stories are undoubtedly tragic, but these athletes are proving that the whole world isn’t mean.
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Source: USA Today