It's not every day that a former NBA player comes to the Oklahoma State University campus to speak.
The Gallagher-Iba Arena was packed Tuesday night with students who got the opportunity to ask former Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O'Neal questions they wanted to know about him. O'Neal didn't make his appearance until 7 p.m., but doors opened at 6 p.m. to the public. Some students and faculty had the privilege to sit in the VIP section, which was on the floor level of the arena.
Jamikka White, a child and family services junior, was one of the students who seated in the VIP section and came an hour before to get a good seat.
"I'm a huge Shaq fan," White said. "I didn't know he was part of the Omega Psi Phi and wanted to find out more about that."
Kendra Shaw, a finance sophomore, was another student who came to the arena early and said she got into the VIP section by going to Library Lawn almost every day when tickets were being given away.
"It was exciting," Shaw said. "It's a great opportunity to see someone as great as him speak."
Prior to asking a question, O'Neal told the students to dance for him on stage in front of everyone.
Quentin Sledge, a business marketing freshman, who was also seated in the VIP section was the first student who got on stage, asking O'Neal the question of whether he was closer to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. He said it was a dream come true meeting someone he looks up to.
"I've always been a Lakers fan," Sledge said. "I'm very thankful, and it's a blessing. Finding a ticket to sit in the VIP section was a long struggle. It was raining in the morning, and I woke up early to go find one, but it was well worth it."
Trey Mitchell, a pre-law and political science freshman, whose birthday was Tuesday, was taken by surprise when O'Neal asked him to come up on stage so that he could greet him. O'Neal even asked the whole arena to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Mitchell.
"It definitely caught me off guard," Mitchell said. "I told my friends I wanted to go up there for my birthday, and I want him to sing 'Happy Birthday' to me, but when he actually called me up there it was just shocking; but it was a cool feeling because I look up to him and grew up watching Shaq."