He may be a former basketball star, a hero, and a motivational speaker, but Shaquille O’Neal is also a father.
He must have some pretty great stories from raising his six kids over the years, but he probably also misses it. At least that’s the sense fans were left with one day when a baby started crying while Shaq was giving an interview on stage.
Shaquille O’Neal Loves Babies
In a clip posted to Instagram, Shaq was in the middle of an interview when he heard a baby crying from the crowd. “I’m sorry, little baby, where are you? Don’t you cry, you little baby,” he said into the mic.
“I love you, I love babies. Can I see that baby? Can you bring that baby up?” he continued.
After confirming he was being serious, a mother brought her little girl to the stage, and Shaq held the girl on his lap. The baby immediately stopped crying and peered at the crowd.
“Babies love Uncle Shaq. I’m sorry,” he joked. “You wanna go to the club too? Hey, babysitting gonna cost you $200. All right, love you. Love you, baby.” He then asked the child’s name as he was handing her back. “Love you, Mia,” he added.
Then, the superstar continued his interview as though nothing had happened.
A Family Man Through and Through
It’s no secret Shaq is fond of kids; you kind of have to be if you’re a father to six. That’s one of the reasons he remains on good terms with both of his exes, Shaunie O’Neal and Arnetta Yardbourgh: they’re his kids’ moms, after all.
“I have two wonderful women that have given me beautiful, gorgeous children, I have to protect, and I have to provide, and I have to love them forever,” the athlete once said in an episode of The Pivot Podcast.
In an interview with the 2 Lies and 1 Truth podcast, Shaq added that his kids have always been the best part of his day. “The best moment is just coming home every day and hearing five, six different voices,” he revealed. “Worst moment is when the separation happened, and they weren’t there every day. That was probably my worst moment.”
Making a Situation Better
While it’s unknown who Mia’s mother is, you can imagine how grateful she was that day when Shaq asked to see her baby. How often do we hear children crying at the grocery store, during a flight, or elsewhere when we’re going about our daily business? And how often do we stop and see whether we can help?
Parents know that kids always cause a scene at the worst of times — that’s just a part of being a mom or dad. But when your kid cries during an interview or event like the one this mom was at with Shaq, well, that’s just next-level tough.
It’s a little nudge to all of us that sometimes a parent could just use a helping hand, no matter who you are. Whether it’s offering to hold a baby so a parent can eat, taking someone’s kids for a walk to the park so they can catch up on work, household chores, or a nap, or letting those with young kids go ahead of us in line at the store, it takes a village.
Even when that village includes Shaq.
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