Shaquille O'Neal Pays For Girl's Funeral: A True Thanksgiving Moment

Forrest Kobayashi@forrestkobaSenior Analyst INovember 26, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 11:  Shaquille O'Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks to maneuver against Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during the game on November 11, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

While Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most successful active NBA players, he never seems to sacrifice his character and personality through the fame and recognition.

After learning about a girl's tragic death through the national news, O'Neal was moved by what he saw. He stepped up to the plate and paid off the entire cost of the girl's funeral.

The kidnapped Shaniya Davis' funeral was held on Sunday, with more than 2,000 people gathered.

It is truly inspiring to see a professional athlete have the heart to provide monetary support to a meaningful cause. While athletes can quickly become known for their in-game achievements and highlight-reel plays, Shaq stands out as an athlete that has provided for fans on and off the court.

Shaq's kind gesture comes around Thanksgiving—a time when people step back and take time to appreciate all that they've been fortunate to have. O'Neal has had a profound impact on thousands of peoples' lives—especially those close to Shaniya—and will forever be remembered in those people's minds.

Some athletes and people make a significant amount of money, but take a selfish approach to how they use their assets. O'Neal has demonstrated—through this situation and other community events throughout his career—that he truly cares for others.

While Shaquille will go down as one of the best NBA centers to ever play the game, he will long be remembered and idolized by young fans for his contributions outside of the basketball arena.