Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal has stepped in to help the grieving family of a teen who died in a senseless gun accident by offering to pay for his funeral, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Malachi Hemphill, just 13 years old, had been playing with a handgun on Instagram live when it accidentally went off, said his godmother Shantirea Bankston, who discovered him wounded in his room—his smartphone still streaming footage—after she heard a loud bang. Hemphill was transported to Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Check your kids' book bag. Check your kids room. Be involved with your kids, too, and see what they are doing and hopefully a good message will come out of this," Bankston warned other parents.
Shaq, an Atlanta resident, heard the story and paid the family a call—then a visit. When he learned that they had no way to pay for Hemphill's burial expenses, he promised to take care of it himself.
"No mother should have to go through this,” O’Neal said. “I can only imagine the pain that she and all of Malachi’s family must be feeling. I just wanted to do what I could to help them at such a terrible time."
"We wasn’t prepared to bury him this young," Bankston said of Hemphill. "We didn’t have insurance for him. So to have that from Shaquille O’Neal—it was a blessing and very touching, and we appreciate everything he does for the community."
Shaq has indeed always been there for his fellow Atlantans. Just a few weeks ago, he fully furnished the house of a young girl who had survived a vicious dog attack that left another child dead.