We know Shaq as the fun-loving basketball legend, always ready to goof around when an opportunity presents itself. But, like all humans, Shaq goes through his own struggles.
Patrick Martin was aware the retired basketball player had recently gone through two tragic events. In October, Shaq lost his sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, to cancer. A few months later, he lost his former Lakers teammate, Kobe Bryant. When Martin recognized Shaq in a Georgia Best Buy, he took a moment to offer his condolences.
After Martin parted ways, Shaq came back and offered to purchase Martin the nicest laptop in the store. The two took a photo together, which Martin shared on Facebook with the caption:
“So me and Mo just went to Best Buy to buy a laptop and we meet Shaq. We gave our condolences for his sister and Kobe. We walked off, then Shaq comes to us and says, I like yall, so get the nicest one in here and I’ll pay for it. #RIPAyeshaHarrisonJex #RIPKOBE #MambaMentality”
Martin also posted an image of the purchase and, because this is the Internet, people poked fun at him over picking out a Microsoft Surface laptop.
During TNT’s “Remembering Kobe” tribute on Jan. 28, Shaq gave an emotional speech about when he found out about his former teammate’s untimely passing.
“It hit all of us out of nowhere, I didn’t want to believe it. I said to myself, ‘I hope some butt-face made this up and it’s not true.’ I didn’t want to believe. Then you get the calls, and then you finally see it’s confirmed. My spirit just left my body.”
Shaq chose to give back further by donating all proceeds of his Super Bowl party to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation and families of the victims. He considered canceling the part but wrote why he didn’t on Instagram: “Part of me wanted to stay to myself as I reflect what my brother and his family mean to me and my family. But in thinking what would Kobe want, what would he do? Kobe would want us to push through and celebrate life. So let’s do just that.”
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were two of nine passengers that lost their lives in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash. The fellow passengers’ names are Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Keri and John Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.