McDONOUGH — The kids of Henry County were treated to the presence of star athletes Shaquille O’Neal and Otis Nixon on Tuesday at McDonough High School.
The Henry County Sheriff’s Office along with the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation put on summer camps for kids playing baseball and basketball on Monday and Tuesday. Led by local coaches and former pro athletes, the kids participated in multiple drills for each sport.
Henry County Sheriff Reginald Scandrett expressed his pleasure of seeing local children partaking in the camps hosted by his office.
“It’s beyond fun, and it’s an investment,” he said. “We’re developing relationships with the community, and we’re beyond excited about it.”
O’Neal was the special guest coach for the boys and girls basketball camps on Monday and Tuesday. He taught the campers fundamentals on proper shooting form, dribbling techniques and playing as a team.
“I’m just out here having fun with them,” O’Neal said. “I’m here to teach them stuff they can take home with them.”
He worked with the campers for nearly two hours before sending them to get their phones for pictures with him.
Coaches like Kaleigh Stickles from Creekside Christian Academy joined in to assist in the camp.
“Just being able to help develop girls in something I’m passionate about means a lot,” she said.
Outside on the baseball diamond, former MLB star Nixon conducted all of the baseball camp activities. The campers practiced hitting and fielding while also working on the simple techniques of the game.
Nixon played 17 seasons in the MLB, including two stints with the Atlanta Braves. He emphasized the importance of giving the kids a safe place to learn and enjoy the game.
“These kids can sometimes learn more out here than they can in school,” Nixon said. “We set in the organization and structure and bring positivity through the game.”
Assisting with baseball was Eddie Rush, who played for the Detroit Tigers. Rush expressed his large interest in helping kids make it to their goal.
“It’s rewarding that I’m able to present things to them that they can carry for the rest of their (lives),” he said. “It’s more than just coaching. It’s mentorship.”
The camp concludes on Wednesday with football and volleyball camps. Former NFL quarterback Quincy Carter will be in charge on the football field while former college athlete Raven Prather heads the volleyball camp.