Shaquille O'Neal -- for his retirement and his tremendous career. Growing up watching the Big Guy dominate in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center was something special.
But the thing about Shaq is that he still continues to make an impact on the LSU campus. He sponsors the Shaquille O'Neal CHAMPS Life Skills Program which benefits every student-athlete at LSU. He also comes back and hosts a golf tournament to raise money for the CHAMPS program ran by one of my mentors, Mike Mallett.
Now Shaquille has won his share of championship rings and MVP trophies -- he's made countless highlight reels with his monster dunks -- but the thing I will always remember the most is that when Hurricane Katrina hit my home town area and devestated the New Orleans area, Shaq was down in Miami loading up tractor trailer trucks with supplies that he either purchased or collected. And I mean he was physically down there helping to load them himself. And this is just one of a hundered examples of how Shaq has reached out and made a difference.
These acts are some of the things that have inspired me to work so hard in developing my HOPE Foundation. I want to be able to have the type of reach that Shaq has had throughout the years. Because I know that while he has retired from the NBA, I guarantee you that he has only begun to impact others with his kindness.