Society / The Seen

Shaquille O’Neal Brings His Charming Ways to Houston, Hangs Out With Kid Cancer Patients: The Big Man Never Stood Taller

BY // 04.18.18

What: Texas Children’s Cancer Center‘s 13th annual “An Evening With a Living Legend”

Where: Marriott Marquis Houston

PC Moments: As one of the greatest players in NBA history, the towering Shaquille O’Neal never stood taller than he did during a special visit to Texas Children’s Cancer Center. With his personal charm and well-known humor, he brightened the day for the young patients and their families. The 7-foot-1 Shaq even shot hoops with youngsters, joined them in playing games and talked with them about their cancer journeys.

That evening O’Neal, host of TNT’s Inside the NBA, enjoyed a lighter commitment as headliner at  “An Evening With a Living Legend.” Close to 500 guests joined him in the ballroom of the Marriott Marquis Houston for dinner and the program that saw the basketball great interviewed by Matt Iseman, host of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior.

The conversation offered an insider’s view of O’Neal’s success that has included the 2000 NBA MVP award, two scoring titles, 15 All-Star game selections and membership in the Basketball Hall of Fame (2016).

The program included singing of the national anthem by Texas Children’s Cancer Center survivor Sophia Sereni and the invocation by Texas Children’s Cancer Center patient Kyler Rideau.

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Applause, applause for chairs Julie Bergen and Kathy Zay, who led the evening to proceeds of more than $700,000. They were assisted in their efforts by honorary chairs Monica and Kevin King and Stephanie and Brad Tucker.

Who: Texas Children’s Hospital president and CEO Mark Wallace; Texas Children’s Cancer Center director Dr. David Poplack; Texas Children’s Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline and Nancy Calles; O’Neal’s daughter, Taahirah O’Neal, and her mother, Arnetta Yardbourgh; Trini Mendenhall; Regina Garcia; Kathy Orton; Candi and Gerald Glenn; Michelle Riley-Brown, Kristina Gutierrez, Brittany Hebert; and Fran and Mark Lapidus.

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