The day started as a trip to watch LSU women’s basketball for an Ascension Parish seventh grader, but what he didn’t know was that he would also get a chance to meet one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Before heading to the LSU game, Dana Bass said Sean Connor, one of the co-founders of X-Factor Sports Performance on Drusilla Lane, invited her to the grand opening and she took her nephew Ryder.
While there, Ryder got to meet one of the other co-founders of X-Factor Sports Performance — Shaquille O’Neal.
Not only did Ryder and the other kids there get to meet Shaq, but the NBA hall of famer also offered the kids chances to win some cash.
O’Neal offered $1,000 to the first kid to win five games of one-on-one and Ryder took advantage of the opportunity and won the cash prize.
After that, Shaq offered the seventh grader a chance to double his money with a shot from the 3-point line that he swished from the top of the key.
“It was crazy,” Ryder said. “I’ve always wanted a chance to meet him. It was one of the best moments of my life. We look up to him, so it was a great feeling.”
Ryder had a chance to win $5,000 by making a half-court shot but he missed. Before leaving, he said Shaq asked him for his address to send him a gift.
A few days later, a MacBook Pro arrived at his doorstep.
“I never thought that would happen,” he said. “It was so cool. I’m just grateful for that.”
Shaq is a true hometown hero.