GOODRICH, MI – In the coolest post-Spring Break flex a teenager could imagine, Eric Kilburn Jr. showed up to Goodrich High School this morning in a pair of Shaq’s shoes.
The Michigan 14-year-old who for so long couldn’t find a pair of shoes that fit properly received five pairs of shoes from Reebok that were originally made for NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq spoke with Kilburn Jr. on the phone last week as one of few that are able to relate to the teenager, who is in need of size 23 or bigger shoes.
The former basketball superstar and media personality said he was in the same boat as Kilburn Jr. when he was his age.
Shaq’s team at Reebok overnighted five pairs of size 22 shoes that were originally created for him after they spoke on the phone.
While on the call, Shaq said he wanted to make sure Kilburn Jr. had what he needed. He was incredibly kind and told the family he wasn’t doing this for accolades or publicity, his mother Rebecca said.
Shaq and Reebok are putting together a package (or “Shaq-age” as Kilburn Jr. calls it) with shoes, gear and more. He even threw a playful jab since they weren’t able to FaceTime because the family doesn’t use iPhones.
Custom made for Shaq, the size 22 shoes even have a bit more toe room to accommodate Kilburn Jr.’s unique feet. They are a much better fit than the Tacko Fall Nikes he used to wear.
“What kid doesn’t want to say that they are wearing Shaquille O’Neal’s shoes? He would squeeze those feet in there and happily wear them,” Rebecca said.
Each were different styles of shoes, too -- another first for Kilburn Jr. who’s never had the luxury to choose his footwear.
Included in the package was a message from Reebok: “Eric -- Hoping these shoes we created for Shaq could be a fit and offer you some relief. We have a few more things headed your way, but wanted to get these to you ASAP. Know that we’re here to help and behind you every step of the way!”
The family was in touch with Shaq’s manager while the teen was being fitted for Under Armour’s biggest pair of shoes ever in late March.
Plenty of readers who saw Kilburn Jr.’s story were quick to tag Shaq on social media, knowing he has spoken publicly many times about struggles finding shoes that fit.
Kilburn Jr.’s story went viral after sitting down with MLive-The Flint Journal and launching a GoFundMe campaign to afford custom-made shoes.
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