Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal has had his name in the news a lot recently, largely due to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.
However, he now finds himself in the spotlight as he helps a family in need, helping a family with the death of 18-year old Dexter Rentz, a Louisville signee who died on Saturday in a drive by shooting.
Rentz was a student at Ocoee High School in Ocoee, Fla., located just outside of Orlando. O’Neal, who currently resides in Orlando, heard the news of an innocent 18-year-old life being lost and decided to do whatever he could to help.
O’Neal reached out to Rentz’s parents and told them he’d cover the expenses of the funeral regardless of cost, according to Andrea Adelson of ESPN:
O’Neal, who lives in Orlando, spoke with Rentz’s parents and will pay for all funeral expenses, including a horse and carriage and custom-made casket.
O’Neal decided to reach out to the family after reading about the story and watching some of Rentz’s high school football highlights:
Rentz was shot and killed late Saturday evening. He was 18. O’Neal saw a news report about Rentz on Sunday and wanted to learn more, watching his football highlights from Ocoee High School, where he was an all-around athlete on the football field and track standout. Rentz signed with Louisville in December.
This is a heartbreaking story, and O’Neal has dealt with his fair share of heartbreak this year. After the loss of Bryant, O’Neal may be able to relate to what the Rentz family is going through.
Beyond just being a soon to be collegiate football player and former high school football star, Rentz was a son and a brother, whose life was taken by a random group of people while he was visiting his grandfather.
This family will be grieving this loss for a long time, but perhaps O’Neal helping with the financial burden of it all will allow the family to grieve however they see fit.