Shaq and his foundation held their inaugural charity gala “The Event Presented by Pepsi Stronger Together” Saturday Night, Oct. 2. The event featured performances by Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson, Andra Day, Imagine Dragons, and host Jimmy Kimmel at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
With a star-studded guest list, Shaq was able to raise $2.7 million to benefit The Boys and Girls Club and Communities In Schools throughout Las Vegas and Atlanta. The money was raised by sponsors, tickets, and a spirited live auction.
The auction was highlighted by Shaq himself bidding $90K for a walk-on role in an upcoming Adam Sandler film. Auction items ranged from Lakers, UFC, and Super Bowl experiences to a South African safari were provided a number of sponsors including Pepsi, Alkaline88, Dollar Loan Center, Engelstad Foundation, JCPenney, PLAYSTUDIOS, and Wynn Resorts.
During the night, Shaq joined Snoop Dogg on stage for a performance of “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang.”
“Shaq mentioned that he couldn’t afford daycare, his family couldn’t afford day care. Mine couldn’t either,” said Clarkson. “My mom just happened to work there so I got in for free.
“But I love doing events like this, and I love hearing from artists. Everyone sees where we’re at. They don’t see where we came from, and everybody need a helping hand, everybody needs opportunity. I was one of those kids that grew up on hand-me-downs.”
Clarkson’s performance included “My Life Would Suck Without You,” “Walk Away,” and “Stronger.” Justin Bieber performed “Peaches,” “Somebody,” “Hold On,” “Ghost,” “As I Am” and “Anyone.”
You can see images from the night below.
Since launching in 2019, the foundation has already announced the Shaquille O’Neal Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta, is refurbishing outdoor basketball courts in Las Vegas’ Doolittle Community Center and gave $50K in grants to Las Vegas high schools whose sports programs were affected by the pandemic. More information at shaqfoundation.org.