Shaq, JCPenney Surprise South Oak Cliff Athlete

By Jessica Hayden
Photo by Dennis Cotton

It was the surprise of a lifetime for 17-year-old Kylon Owens, a senior basketball player at South Oak Cliff High School, courtesy of department store chain, JCPenney. A look of surprise came across his face as he was informed that he would be the recipient of a new wardrobe and then greeted by his personal stylist, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

The team captain of his school’s basketball team, Kylon is described as a compassionate captain who gives rides to his teammates and is always trying to help his fellow teammates while keeping his grades up. Switching gears from which he is off and on the court to how did he win the JCPenney giveaway?

Kylon said, “My dad received an email about winning a free clothes giveaway. I had no idea what was going on.” He didn’t know that O’Neal would be there to help him find the best suits for prom, draft day, and professional events.

“Finding clothes to fit me is hard sometimes,” he said. “I have to go across town to find pants, then go on the opposite side to find a shirt.” Now that JCPenney has provided him with a new professional look, he says, it puts less of a stress on his parents and him to find the proper clothing.

The star athlete is 6-foot-9 inches tall, and O’Neal is 7-foot-1. “As JCPenney’s style ambassador, I understand how hard it is to find stuff for big guys and big children, to find clothes that look good,” O’Neal said, “Sometimes as a big guy, they just give us the cheap stuff —the beige, never browns, any patterns, and I got tired of that.”

And in addition to the closes, O’Neal gave Kylon some words of wisdom “Listen to your parents,” he encouraged. “I got where I am right now by my family. Your parents have your best interests at heart; they can help guide you the right way. That is why I am the man I am today. Guidance in life goes a long way in a student athlete’s performance in school to anything else they would do in life.

O’Neal even gave Kylon’s dad his number to stay in touch, which Kylon plans on doing. “Yes, hopefully, now that I have his number.” And he will share his experience with friends.

“I will tell them It’s a blessing and gives encouraging words back to them that they can be in this position too if they work hard on and off the court.”

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