Shavlik Randolph, WWE Make a Kid's Dream Come True
Shavlik Randolph had been a Phoenix Sun for about 20 minutes.
And that’s not much of an exaggeration.
The Suns signed the 6-10 NBA veteran for the remainder of the 2013-14 season on March 1, 2014. Coincidentally, the Phoenix Suns Charities Jump Ball Gala was the same day.
The annual gala is a formal, black-tie event intended to raise money for Phoenix Suns charities whose mission is to benefit organizations that assist the needs of children and their families in Arizona.
Randolph showed up to the event at Talking Stick Resort wearing jeans and a plaid shirt.
“I probably wasn’t even supposed to be there,” Randolph reflected while laughing. “I didn’t know much about [the gala] since I had literally just arrived in Phoenix that day and things were so crazy. But I wanted to show the guys and the organization that I was there willing to be a part of the team and ready to go.”
Randolph bid on (and won) a special auction item that featured a unique meet-and-greet package with WWE Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan including two WWE Championship Belts.
“I carried the belts on my shoulders after the event,” Randolph said with a big smile. “I’m sure people weren’t quite sure what I was doing. But I felt the prize package would be better served going to a kid in need – someone who is probably a much bigger fan of [the WWE] than I am. I asked them to look into finding a kid at a local hospital who is passionate about the Suns and WWE and that’s when they found Isaiah.”
Isaiah Acosta was born without a mandible (a lower jaw) and his skin was blue from lack of oxygen. The prognosis at the time was less than optimistic.
But miraculously, Isaiah continued to improve – day after day, week after week, month after month.
Now 14-years-old, his condition requires frequent trips to the doctor for consultations and follow-up visits (Isaiah’s condition is only one of two known documented cases in the world). He isn’t able to breathe or eat without a tube.
But even in spite of the obstacles he faces, he is one of the nicest, most positive teenagers you’ll ever come across.
“I was able to meet Isaiah and present him with the belts after the [Oklahoma City] Thunder game in March,” Randolph said. “It was a big win for us but definitely the highlight of that night was seeing how happy he was.
“To see his mom tearing up over the gifts was more rewarding than any basketball game.”
The best part? Not only did Isaiah receive the belts, he also got the chance to go bowling with Daniel Bryan and his wife, WWE Diva Brie Bella.
“[Daniel Bryan is] his favorite wrestler,” Sergio Acosta (Isaiah’s father) said. “He’s been watching him since he first got into the WWE. Now he’s a champion. They had such a good time and I’m thankful that Isaiah got to meet them. Isaiah lives life to the fullest. Everyone he meets, he changes their life.
“I’m so proud to be his dad.”
Isaiah ended up bowling with Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella for nearly two hours. Bryan and Bella were genuinely attentive and kind and communicated frequently with Isaiah through their smartphones. They even posted a photo to their official Facebook page with the caption, “Bowling with our new buddy Isaiah and yes he's beating me!!!”
“It’s the coolest part of our job,” Daniel Bryan said after the event. “To be able to give back to kids is extraordinary.
“That’s why I do what I do.”