SHAQ GIVES BACK!

July 12, 2018 at 4:45 am

Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal returns to his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and shares his passion and gratitude for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

Aired on July 11, 2018.

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> IN THE WORLD OF BASKETBALL,
FEW PLAYERS MORE CELEBRATED OR
MORE EXCITING TO WATCH THAN
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, ATTRIBUTING
HIS SUCCESS BOTH ON AND OFF THE
COURT TO THE VALUES INSTILLED IN
HIM AT THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB.
AND HE WAS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR
TO THE CLUB'S DENTAL CARE.
OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, AND
MICHAEL HILL HAD A CHANCE TO
SPEAK WITH SHAQ.
WHAT IT MEANT TO HAVE A PLACE
LIKE THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB
GROWING UP.
>> THIS IS THE PLACE WHERE IT
ALL STARTED.
BOTH PARENTS HAD JOBS.
COULDN'T AFFORD BABY-SITTERS.
LIVED ACROSS THE STREET.
I WAS INSTRUCTED TO COME HERE
AFTER SCHOOL AND WAIT UNTIL ONE
OF US CAME TO GET YOU.
MISS BANKS, SHE IS STILL HERE
SHE MADE SURE THAT ALL THE KIDS
WENT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
LET ME SEE YOUR HOMEWORK FOR.
SO EDUCATION WAS IMPORTANT.
AFTER WE SHOWED HER THE
HOMEWORK, WE WERE ABLE TO PLAY.
THIS IS A SAFE HAVEN BUT ALSO A
PLACE TO CULTIVATE MY DREAMS.
>> YOU LEARNED A LOT.
>> FIRST THING I LEARNED IS HOW
TO TURN CRITICISM INTO
MOTIVATION.
WHEN YOU ARE BIGGER THAN
EVERYBODY, EVERYBODY EXPECTS YOU
TO BE MICHAEL JORDAN ALREADY.
COULDN'T PLAY, COULDN'T DUNK,
BUT HAD THE DRIVE AND
DETERMINATION.
>> IF YOU WERE NOT HERE, AND
THIS CLUB WERE NOT HERE, WHERE
WOULD SHAQUILLE O'NEAL HAVE
BEEN?
>> I THINK ABOUT THAT A LOT.
I OWE THIS PLACE.
THAT IS WHY I KEEP COMING BACK.
IF IT WASN'T FOR THIS PLACE,
THERE WOULDN'T BE SHAQUILLE
O'NEILL.
OR THE BRAND.
>> THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY OF THIS
WHEN I WAS A KID.
I HELPED BUILD ALL THE STUFF IN
THERE NOW, AND IT IS AWESOME.
>> KIDS NEVER GET A CHANCE TO GO
TO THE DENTIST OR EYES EXAMINED,
IN THIS CASE, ISSUES LATER ON IN
LIFE ARE ADDRESSED.
>> IT IS A BIG ORDEAL, KIDS ARE
SHY BY NATURE, SO IF YOU CAN'T
SEE, YOU WON'T READ.
I CAN'T SEE, I WON'T READ.
YEARS AFTER, THAT JUST ADDS TO
ILLITERACY.
SO WE GET THEM IN THERE, AND GET
THEM TESTED AND TELL THEM DON'T
WORRY ABOUT IT, PICK OUT A PAIR.
AND IN HERE, WE ASSOCIATE
READING WITH COMIC BOOKS AND
OTHER LITTLE BOOKS AND FUN BOOKS
MANY START TO BRING UP THEIR
COMPREHENSION AND THAT IS WHAT
WE WANT FOR THE YOUNGSTERS.
WHEN I GOT TOGETHER WITH THE
DOCTOR AND FRIENDS AND WE SAID
WE GOTTA MAKE IT FREE.
AND IT IS WONDERFUL.
PEOPLE CALL IT GIVING BACK, AND
THIS IS WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO
DO.
SUPPOSED TO DO IT BECAUSE MY
MOTHER TOLD ME TO DO IT.
YOU NEED TO GO BACK AND FIX THAT
PLACE UP.
FAMILIES THAT DON'T HAVE A
HOUSE, HANDLE THAT.
SOME MAY CALL IT GIVING BACK,
BUT I AM TAKING ORDERS FROM THE
PERSON WHO RAISED ME.
>> YOU VOWED TO KEEP THAT
PROBLEM.
>> ANY MAN THAT DON'T KEEP A
PROMISE TO HIS MOTHER IS NOT A
REAL MAN OR ANY MAN WHO DOESN'T
HONOR HIS MOTHER, IS NOT A REAL
MAN OR ANY WOMAN.
MY MOM WORKED HARD FOR ME.
THE REASON WHY I WORK HARD FOR
HER IS I APPRECIATE THAT.
THE FUNNY THING ABOUT OUR
RELATIONSHIP, IS HER MOTHER TOLD
HER WHEN I WAS BORN, THIS ONE IS
SPECIAL.
WATCH OUT FOR THIS ONE.
THIS ONE IS GOING TO BE WORLD
KNOWN.
1 YEARS OLD.
I AM DOING WHAT I AM TOLD.
>> I LISTEN TO YOU TELL YOUR
STORY ABOUT THIS CLUB AND WHAT
YOU LEARNED HERE, YOU KNEW THEN
WHEN YOU WERE A KID, DESPITE THE
MINOR JUVENILE DELINQUENCY, AND
OTHER STRUGGLES, YOU MAY HAVE
HAD, YOU KNEW YOU WERE SPECIAL.
>> I KNEW I WAS SPECIAL, BUT I
DIDN'T KNOW I WAS GOING TO MAKE
IT.
50% OF PEOPLE TELLING YOU YOU
ARE GOING TO BE THAT.
AND THE OTHER 50% YOU ARE NOT
GOING TO DO THAT.
AND YOU LEAN, MAYBE, I AM NOT
GOING TO GO PRO OR GET A
SCHOLARSHIP.
BUT MY MOTHER AND FATHER TOLD ME
NEVER GIVE UP.
AND MISS BANKS WOULDN'T GIVE ME
THE ANSWER, DON'T GIVE UP.
DO IT AGAIN.
GO AHEAD, USE YOUR FINGERS.
SIX TIMES FIVE IS 30.
THAT'S RIGHT, BABY.
GROWING UP, YOU CAN'T GIVE UP.
>> IN MAKING THE CONTRIBUTIONS
YOU HAVE MADE HERE, THESE KIDS
KNOW, SOMEBODY CARED ABOUT THEM.
>> I THINK THEY KNOW THAT I
CARE.
BUT BASICALLY, I AM TELLING
THEM, I AM IN THE SAME SITUATION
YOU ARE FROM.
I KNOW YOU LOOK AT ME NOW, AND
LOOK AT ALL THE TOYS.
BUT THE WAY TO GET TO THE TOYS,
YOU HAVE GOT TO START FROM
SOMEWHERE.
I USED TO EAT ONCE A DAY ALSO.
AND I USED TO GO CHRISTMASES
WITHOUT GETTING ANY PRESENTS.
SO I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE
GOING THROUGH.
HOWEVER, THIS IS THE BLUE PRINT.
I KNOW IT, BECAUSE I WROTE IT.
I AM A DOCTOR.
AND YOU STUDY THIS.
THERE IS A HELL OF A CHANCE THAT
YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL OR MORE
SUCCESSFUL THAN ME.
BE A LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER.
NEVER GIVE UP.
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS.
DON'T BE TALKING BACK TO THAT
MAN LIKE THAT, YOU GO AND SAY
YES, SIR, NO, SIR.
THAT IS ALL I HAD.
I WASN'T A WHIZ KID, A GREAT
ATHLETES.
THOSE PRINCIPLES MADE ME WHO I
AM TODAY.
YOU FOLLOW THESE, BAM, YOU CAN
GET OUT.
>> YOU HAVE HAD AN IMPORTANT
MENTOR IN YOUR LIFE.
>> YEAH, DALE BROWN.
13-YEARS OLD, 6'9" COULDN'T
DUNK, COULDN'T PLAY.
IN GERMANY, WE WERE IN WEST
GERMANY AT THE TIME.
MY FATHER SAID LET'S GO LISTEN
TO THIS GUY COACH, MAYBE YOU CAN
GET A SCHOLARSHIP.
SO I TALKED TO HIM, COACH, 6'9",
CAN'T PLAY, CAN'T DUNK.
CAN YOU HELP ME WITH MY LOWER
EXTREMITIES, I LEARNED THAT WORD
THE DAY BEFORE IN THE DICTIONARY
BECAUSE I WAS ON PUNISHMENT.
HE SAID HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN
IN THE ARMY.
I SAID I AM NOT IN THE ARMY, I
AM 13.
WHAT?
13?
SO WE KEPT IN TOUCH.
HE SENT ME QUOTES, PAMPHLETS.
AND I HAD TO WRITE HIM A PAINFUL
LETTER, ALL THE STUFF YOU SENT
ME, DIDN'T WORK.
THANKS FOR THE WORK.
I APPRECIATE YOU.
I AM GOING TO QUIT AND JOIN THE
ARMY LIKE MY DAD.
LOVE YOU.
NEXT LETTER, I DON'T WANT YOU TO
QUIT.
FORGET BASKETBALL.
DO YOUR STUDIES.
GET BACK TO THE STATES AND CALL
ME.
HE SAYS I WILL GIVE YOU A
SCHOLARSHIP.
FINANCIAL AID, DONE, WE'LL TAKE
CARE OF IT.
THAT'S WHY I CHOSE TO GO TO LSU.
HE SAW SOMETHING IN ME THAT I
DON'T SEE IN MYSELF.
BY THE TIME I GOT TO SAN
ANTONIO, I WAS THE NUMBER ONE
PLAYER.
HE HELPED ME THROUGH THE WAY.
>> AND ONCE YOU WENT TO LSU?
>> HE TOOK CARE OF ME, AND HAD
THE SAME PRINCIPLES MY PARENTS
HAVE.
LIKE, HEARD YOU WERE OUT WITH
SOME GUYS DRINKING THE DAY, YOU
KNOW BETTER THAN THAT.
YOU KNOW TO BE A LEADER NOT A
FOLLOWER.
YES, SIR.
I DON'T WANT YOU AROUND THAT
CROWD.
YES, SIR.
DIDN'T GO TO CLASS, YOU HAD TO
RUN 15 LAPS IN THE MORNING.
VERY TOUGH.
TOUGH LOVE PROPELLED ME TO
GREATNESS.
>> YOU ARE IN RETIREMENT NOW,
YOU DON'T MISS THE GAME, DO YOU?
>> NEVER.
NOT AT ALL.
>> TELL ME WHY.
>> WHEN IT IS YOUR TURN, IT IS
YOUR TURN.
WHEN IT IS NOT YOUR TURN, IT'S
NOT YOUR TURN.
LUCKILY, I CAME IN WITH ALL OF
THE OLD STARS GOING OUT AND IT
WAS MY TURN FOR A WHILE.
AND YOU KNOW, GOT TEAMED UP WITH
KOBE, AND IT WAS OUR TURN FOR A
WHILE.
AND SPLIT UP AND IT WAS STILL MY
TURN.
AND FOR ME RIGHT HERE, AND THE
OTHER GUYS GROWING UP.
I PLAYED 19 YEARS BUT I HAD A
STRONG 15 YEARS, WHERE IT WAS
SHAQ, SHAQ.
AND I KNEW THAT ONE DAY FATHER
TIME WAS GOING TO SAY, TIME FOR
YOU TO SIT DOWN AND RELAX.
>> SURELY YOU EXPECTED THAT
GIVEN A CAREER YOU HAD IN THE
NBA, THAT IT WILL BE A CINCH
THAT YOU WOULD BE INDUCTED IN
THE HALL OF FAME.
>> I EXPECTED IT NOT BECAUSE I
WAS A GREAT PLAYER.
I EXPECTED IT BECAUSE EVERYTHING
MY MOTHER AND FATHER HAVE TAUGHT
ME HAS COME TRUE.
YOU DON'T NEED TO FOLLOW HIM, HE
IS GETTING THAT LITTLE $100.
YOU GO TO SCHOOL AND YOU GET A
EDUCATION AND YOU HAVE 100,000.
EVERYTHING THEY TOLD ME HAS COME
TRUE.
I WISH MY FATHER WAS STILL HERE
TO SHARE MY MOMENT WITH HIM.
THERE WERE SOMETIMES I DIDN'T
BELIEVE IT MYSELF.
I'M GOOD, BUT I'M NOT THAT GOOD.
THAT MICHAEL JORDAN, OH, I WOULD
NEVER GET TO THAT LEVEL.
THEN MY TURN.
AND EVERY TIME I STUCK TO MY, I
DON'T WANT TO USE THE WORD GUNS,
BUT EVERY TIME I STUCK TO MY
PRINCIPLES, I WAS NEVER LET
DOWN.
PEOPLE COME AND THEY SEE CERTAIN
NEIGHBORHOODS AND THEY SEE RISK
AND WON'T MAKE THE INVESTMENTS,
WON'T GIVE IT THE TIME OF DAY.
WHAT DO YOU SEE THAT THEY DON'T
SEE?
>> I SEE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.
I SEE RELATIVES.
I SEE PEOPLE TRYING TO MAKE IT.
I SEE PEOPLE TRYING TO SAVE T
THE LITTLE RIFFRAFF THAT ARE
DOING WHAT THEY ARE DOING CAN BE
CONTROLLED.
BUT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS OUR JOBS
TO KEEP IT BEAUTIFUL.
AND I AM INVESTING A LOT AND
URGE EVERYONE TO COME AND BUILD
IN IT.
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE.
>> YOU CAN CARE ABOUT ANY PLACE
IN THE WORLD.
>> IF I WANT TO KEEP MY
SHARPNESS, I HAVE GOT TO COME
BACK HOME AND GET MY PARTS
REPLACED, PERIOD.
THAT'S WHY.
THEY DON'T BUILD THIS SECTION
ANYWHERE ELSE.
>> YOU DID SAY SEXINESS, RIGHT?
>> SEXINESS.

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