Shaquille O’Neal contributed a hefty sum at his third annual charity gala, The Event, held at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand on Saturday (Oct. 7).
The basketball legend shelled out $20,000 during a live auction to secure a prime onstage table for his mother, Lucille O’Neal. The seat gave her an intimate concert experience with artists like John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, Dan + Shay, and Anderson .Paak.
“Best you ever had. [John Legend], thanks, brother,” Shaq wrote on Instagram.
Per People, Shaq also bid $50,000 to win a Bora Bora vacation, bringing his total contribution for the evening to $70,000. The fundraiser saw considerable success in recent years, raising $2.9 million in 2021 and topping it with $3.15 million in 2022. Figures for 2023 are yet to be released.
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Focused on enriching “underserved youth,” the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation was established in 2019. According to its mission statement, the organization aims to “create pathways for underserved youth to help them achieve their full potential.”
This past weekend’s fundraising event featured actor and comedian Joel McHale as the host. He was joined by comedic veteran Ray Romano. Meanwhile, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Adam Blackstone returned as music director.
“We raised the bar last year, and The Third Event promises to do the same,” Shaq said in a press statement ahead of the evening. “I’m so grateful to our entertainers who are once again donating their time.”
It continued, “I know they will create a night of incredible music and comedy in a true testament to the power of unity to make a difference in kids’ lives. I’m also excited to see familiar faces and new supporters alike joining hands in the spirit of compassion to give back to the community. Let’s make this another night to remember!”
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