Shaquille O’Neal--sports analyst, “point man” for Icy Hot (Chattem, 2014, para. 1), and retired NBA player--missed another free throw.
Shaq had an opportunity to earn a few points the day he saw Jahmel Binion’s online photo. Instead, he missed another free throw. You see, Jahmel has thin hair, facial abnormalities, and missing teeth-- characteristics of the ectodermal dysplasia he was diagnosed with as a baby. Shaq reposted Jahmel’s picture alongside his own selfie in which he mocked Jahmel.
Shaq certainly was no perfect basketball player with his meager free throw record, so we cannot expect him to be a perfect role model. This is why basketball player Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka Flame shouldn’t have copied him—evidence that even celebrities are prone to mistakes like we are.
Jahmel was no stranger to teasing. He has endured teasing and bullying throughout his life. He just never thought he’d be teased by celebrities. Days after Shaq, Trey, and Waka Flocka were criticized, they apologized. Shaq added that he is still learning (Hall, 2014).
Out of this humiliating experience, a new story unfolded for Jahmel. He formed Hug Don’t Judge. His mission is to encourage others to accept people who are different. Jahmel's Hug Don't Judge Facebook page has thousands of supporters. People have posted pictures of their loved ones who have unique physical characteristics as well as quotes and words of encouragement.
Like an oyster, Jahmel formed a beautiful pearl from an irritating grain of sand.
Now the ball is back in Shaq, Trey, and Waka Flocka’s court. Jahmel is hoping they will back up their apologies by supporting his cause (Hall, 2014).
Have you ever formed a pearl from a grain of sand? This is the story in you. Share it.
#HugDon’tJudge #JahmelBinion #Shaq #ShaquilleO’Neal #TreyBurke #WakaFlocka #EctodermalDysplasia #selfie
Chattem, Inc. (2014). Shaq’s locker. Icy Hot. Retrieved from http://www.icyhot.com/shaqs-locker/
Hall. C. (2014). Shaquille O’Neal, Trey Burke apologize for mocking Warren man with rare genetic condition. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved from http://www.freep.com/article/20140430/NEWS04/304300167/Shaquille-O-Neal-Jahmel-Binion-Instagram-selfie