On Tuesday, Shaquille O?Neal announced that he is planning to open a children?s hospital in Louisiana. The hospital will admit and care for sick youth free of charge. During an event at which he was being inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, O?Neal took the opportunity to make the announcement. He also wants to make it abundantly clear that this was not just a sudden decision made with no real game plan. Shaq says he has been in talks with Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge in hopes of making this venture a reality.
O?Neal is an alumnus of Louisiana State University where he played basketball and rose to stardom after being drafted by the NBA. Shaq says that he wants to give back to Louisiana because of all the opportunities that the state has afforded him. He particularly spoke of the gratitude that he has for LSU and the way that the school helped shape him into the man that he is now.
He said, ?LSU lifted me to greatness; the people of Louisiana lifted me to greatness. And after college I had so much confidence and so much ability because of the character that I created in Louisiana (that) the sky was the limit for me.?
I think that it?s great that O?Neal wants to give back to the people that gave him his start. I am especially glad that he is going to an area that is in dire need of medical care for its disenfranchised citizens. Our Lady of the Lake has written a detailed layout of problem.
Time will tell if Shaq?s can be the turn around that the state needs but at least it?s a step in the right direction.