The ninth annual Sam Mitchell Basketball Camp turned exciting in a hurry when 7-feet-1-inches of future NBA Hall of Famer ducked his way into the Carver High gymnasium.
Shaquille O'Neal spoke to campers about never giving up and holding on to their dreams.
"I'm the guy, for some reason, that is the portal for being a regular guy that can get you to superstardom," O'Neal said. "When I was coming up, a superstar was out of reach, but they see that I've been through the same things that they've been through."
O'Neal grew up in a military family. The New Jersey native went to high school in San Antonio, Tx. while his father was stationed at Fort Sam Houston.
"I'm a military child," he said. "I always tell them that, hey, if I did it, in these conditions, then you can do it also."
At one point, the Big Aristotle had migrated to Spencer High and was offering campers $100 if they could hit a certain shot.
No one did.
"Now being a father of six, you have to do all sorts of things to get their attention," he said. "It was a basketball camp, and I just wanted to motivate them a little bit. Money motivates everybody, so I just wanted a kid to feel special. It would have been great if one of the kids had been able to hit the shot. That right there would have been something they would have never forgotten."
O'Neal said he was flying out of Columbus Wednesday night, back to California, and he would soon begin work on another movie with his "good friend" Adam Sandler.
A sequel to the timeless classic(ly bad) "Kazaam"?