- HEAT Video
Shaquille O’Neal Wins NBA Community Assist Award
Jan 11 2005 4:08PM
MIAMI, Jan. 11 – HEAT center Shaquille O’Neal is the recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award for the month of December for his charitable contributions over the holiday season.
On December 16, O’Neal purchased Christmas toys for over 500 children and hosted an evening with them at Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami as part of “Shaq-A-Claus”. The beneficiary of the gifts were the children of the CHARLEE Program , established in Miami in 1983 through the coordinated efforts of the Junior League of Miami, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida in order to serve children and adolescents in the foster care system with a healthy family environment.
In addition to helping the community of Miami, O’Neal took his “Shaq-A-Claus” act on the road to reach out to the Los Angeles community. O’Neal purchased toys for over 250 children and turned the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in South Los Angeles into a Christmas Wonderland for children. Snow was delivered for the children to play in and all toys were delivered in a truck filled with bicycles, Sony Playstations, karaoke machines, sneakers and other gifts.
O’Neal also served as the Grand Marshal of the Winterfest Celebration, a holiday parade bringing together the community as well as attracting positive national attention to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. Charitable toy drives are hosted as a conduit to the event.
As the recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award, O’Neal will receive the David Robinson Plaque and a $5,000 contribution to the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund in O’Neal’s honor.
This marks the third time a member of the HEAT has won the award in the last nine months. Lamar Odom took the honors in May for his outreach to Robertson Auguste, a 13-year old boy from the Hialeah area who was the lone survivor of a fire that destroyed his home. Dwyane Wade was also a recipient along with the 2004 USA Olympic Team, for the “Hoops for Troops” pre-Olympic initiative. The members of USA Basketball showed their support for United States military personnel serving around the globe by hosting thousands of service men and women at numerous practices, scrimmages and games during their pre-Olympic training.