Shaq has come to a 14-year-old football player’s rescue after he struggled to find the right shoes for his feet.
As reported by USA Today, Eric Kilburn Jr., from Michigan, is a 6ft10″ teenage athlete with size 23 feet – making him significantly larger than his classmates.
Finding the right footwear is a challenge for Eric, so his mother, Rebecca Kilburn, decided to share his story last month in the hopes that somebody could help him purchase the right shoes at an affordable price.
The outlet revealed that the teenager has undergone six painful procedures on his feet to fix his in-grown toenails – which resulted in the permanent removal of the nails on his largest two toes.
He also sprained his ankle last fall while playing on the junior varsity football team. This may have been avoidable if he’d had cleats instead of just sneakers.
Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal – who wears size 22 shoes – also took notice and surprised Eric with a special call that left him speechless.
“I was flabbergasted,” the teen said, adding: “My soul left my body for a moment, I was so shocked.”
Eric asked the veteran basketballer if he’d ever played football in high school but instead, O’Neal said that he made a whopping $900 million by “listening to his mom and dad”.
“So he told me to listen to my parents,” Eric said.
Robb Cropp of Under Armour Senior Director of Footwear Development measured the teenager’s feet for his custom shoes. Prominent brand Puma also intends to do the same.
While the shoes will take about two months to arrive, in the meantime, Reebok gifted Eric five pairs of size 22 shoes they had initially created for O’Neal.
Even though it is still believed that the freshman needs a size 23, the brand stated that the new shoes have more toe room than the Nikes he had been wearing in matches.