Shaquille O’Neal is on a mission to help student athletes across the country return to the competitive sports they love as soon as possible amid the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA Hall of Famer said it’s important for young people to stay active instead of sitting around indoors playing video games — with safety as the utmost priority.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: 40 million people lost their jobs and schools are cutting programs. We definitely need our academia and athletic programs to give these children something to do.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: The problem we see that, is that during the pandemic that has disrupted youth sports. And for schools in hard hit communities to slash the budgets of athletic programs. And when the time comes to restart, these financially strapped programs will need help purchasing newly mandated protective gear, meeting safety and hygiene protocols that are required to reactivate sports. Myself and Shaquille O'Neal Foundation is teaming up with my longtime partner IcyHot to launch Get Game Ready. That's a grant program and support initiative to help high school athletic programs restart when the COVID-19 restrictions are withdrawn.
I always advocate. I'm not the hear all, say all, do this and do that, I'm just trying to advocate what's right. But I know for a fact that when schools open up, a lot of schools are not going to have the fundings. IcyHot and myself, we're going to do all we can to make sure schools that we help out can get right back on track. You know, sports are very important. It's always been a part of our society. But a lot of these kids want to play sports and want to be active.
I'm totally against kids just sitting in the house on their computer playing video games. Childhood obesity rate is quadrupled and these kids are not staying active. Once the policies come out in schools you might have new rules and new regulations. I want everybody to follow the rules and regulations that were set forth. Again, some states are different. Find a way to safely stay active.
Like, if you're a basketball player, dribble in your backyard. Lay down on your back and shoot a million jumpers. Close your eyes and act like you're shooting at the rim. If you're football player, go to your local backyard and just do football drills. You definitely have to stay active. Just keep everything going. I'm not telling anybody to break the rules, or force it to push it. But now, as an athlete, we always have to stay active.