With no end in sight for the Covid “thing,” Shaq is embarking on a new mission… to help student-athletes around the entire United States to get back to competitive sports and the games we love so much. In an interview with Yahoo News, the former NBA superstar safety is a priority…but getting back to sports is important, too.
Here’s Shaq: “The pandemic has disrupted youth sports and forced schools and hard-hit communities to slash the budgets of athletic programs. We definitely need academic and athletic programs to give these children something to do.”
With Covid still hitting schools, businesses and individuals hard, the depressing signs and statistics are everywhere: Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs this year. Small businesses continue to close. And for schools, big drops in local tax revenues means many local governments are scrambling to close budget gaps. That means less money for schools. That’s leading some districts to cut back on athletic programs.
Once again, Shaq is teaming up with one of his corporate partners to offer some much-needed help. Along with Icy Hot – you’ve seen Shaq’s commercials for the brand, of course – the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation is working on ways to ease some of the financial burdens.
Shaq and Icy Hot are launching their program, called “Get Game Ready,” an initiative to help high school athletics programs get back on track once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. To fund the school grants, Icy Hot is donating $1 to O’Neal’s foundation for every product sold.
Shaq says it’s “definitely the right thing to do,” adding: “My high school did not have a big budget when I went to military school. A lot of things have changed. … With all this new stuff that’s going on with the new protocols and mandates, a lot of these schools are going to need help.”
Shaq admits he’s no medical expert, but also knows how powerful and helpful sports were for him, as well as his children, who are now competing at the collegiate and high school levels in basketball. Sports, he notes, have always been important to American society.
“…sports are very important and they’ve always been part of our society. Sports and music are the only two things that when people are going through trouble, they’re the only two things that can help people ease their mind.”
For those student-athletes who find themselves unsure if their season will take place this year, O’Neal is encouraging them to find something to do to stay active.
“If you’re a basketball player, dribble in your backyard, lay down on your back and shoot a million jumpers. Close your eyes and act like you’re shooting at the rim. If you’re a football player, go to your local backyard and do football drills. … I’m not telling anybody to break the rules or push it, but as an athlete, we always have to stay active.”
For the full video report from Yahoo! Sports, click here: https://news.yahoo.com/shaq-we-need-sports-to-give-these-children-something-to-do-132246709.html