On Sunday 12 June 2022, American former professional basketball player and internet-adored icon Shaquille O’Neal went on a date with a mystery woman at New York City’s Jue Lan Club. He must have felt very generous that night because he decided to not only pay his own bill, but also for everyone else eating in the restaurant too, shelling out over $25,000. No big deal, Shaq.
According to Page Six, the NBA star—who is now a sports analyst—arrived at Jue Lan Club around 8:30 pm on Sunday. The pair ordered Beijing chicken, shrimp tempura, and the restaurant’s signature chicken satay.
When it came to paying the check, the 50-year-old bought dinner for the whole server team as well as for the whole restaurant. “To top that off, he paid for everyone’s check [who was] dining at the restaurant,” the anonymous source told the publication.
While this specific act was impressive to say the least, it’s not the first time Shaq went viral online for his generosity. During an appearance on The Gary Vee Audio Experience podcast, he revealed that he’d managed to hand out 1,000 PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch consoles as well as bikes from Walmart to underprivileged kids for Christmas 2021.
In February 2022, he did it again, gifting a family of eleven an invaluable donation—a custom Mercedes 15-passenger van. Shaq even took them out for a meal, because why not?
On top of all that, the retired sportsman was also reportedly very secretive about paying for his fellow diners and asked the restaurant’s staff not to mention to the 40-plus tables of eaters that he had covered the cost of their meal until after he’d left the restaurant. How wholesome.
It was during that same appearance on The Gary Vee Audio Experience podcast that Shaq revealed this urge to give to others came from his parents. “You know for me, coming from where I come from, my father was a drill sergeant, my mother just was a hard-working woman. Didn’t have a lot. But they taught me the value of giving back. They taught me the value of helping those in need,” he said at the time.
Shaq’s total bill reportedly amounted to “well over $25,000,” and as if this wasn’t enough, the Lakers legend also made sure that the restaurant’s servers were well taken care of. “He left them the biggest tip they’ve ever received,” claimed Page Six’s source.
As for the identity of Shaq’s lucky date, it hasn’t been confirmed who the mysterious woman is. Since divorcing his ex-wife Shaunie in 2011, the star has been linked to actress Annie Ilonzeh, who he reportedly dated in 2021—but it is yet unclear whether she was the woman he dined out with at Jue Lan.