Shaq Pays Rent to Help Atlanta Family Get New Home for Boy Paralyzed in Shooting at Football Game

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Shaquille O'Neal speaks to students during the Vera Bradley blessing in a backpack at Oakland Elementary School on October 02, 2019 in McDonough, Georgia. (Credit: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for Vera Bradley)

Shaquille O’Neal speaks to students during the Vera Bradley blessing in a backpack at Oakland Elementary School on October 02, 2019 in McDonough, Georgia. (Credit: Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for Vera Bradley)

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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. 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.

“I reached out to the family because I wanted to see the son and I said he’s not going to release the sign until she’s able to move on the first floor. So, we found her a house. I’m going to pay her rent for the year and I’m going to give her some furniture and it’s sad because her son is paralyzed from the chest down and no mother should have to go to that,” the ex-L.A. Lakers star told WXIA.

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.

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