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Shaq donates year’s rent to paralyzed Atlanta boy

Imagine Dragons' Sixth Annual Tyler Robinson Foundation Rise Up Gala at Wynn Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 06: Shaquille O’Neal attends Imagine Dragons’ sixth annual Tyler Robinson Foundation Gala at Wynn Las Vegas on September 06, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Tyler Robinson Foundation)

Getty Images for Tyler Robinson

ATLANTA — Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal has donated a year’s rent in a new home to an Atlanta woman whose 12-year-old son was paralyzed in a shooting at a football game.

O’Neal tells WXIA-TV that Isaiah Payton’s family had been living in a one-bedroom apartment that wasn’t accessible for people with disabilities.

“It’s just sad. It could have been any one of us,” Shaq told the Atlanta station. “It could have been my son. It could’ve been your cousin. She was living in a one-bedroom apartment with her two boys, so we found her a house in a nice area.”
Now they have a home in a good neighborhood. He says he’s helping furnish the home and will pay its rent for the next year.

Isaiah was shot through the spine in August after a football scrimmage between two high schools. Sixteen-year-old Damean Spear also was wounded and treated for minor injuries. Isaiah’s mother, Allison Woods, has said relearning how to care for Isaiah meant she had to leave her job, adding financial stress to her emotional turmoil.