Kylon Owens thought he would be one of many getting outfitted for prom at JCPenney's in Hurst on Wednesday morning. Instead, the 6-foot-10-inch South Oak Cliff basketball player was the center of attention. That's saying something, considering former NBC All-Star, Shaquille O'Neal was there to help style the teenager.
"I feel very special today," Owens said. "He was like me once, so I know that it's possible to be someone like him one day."
O'Neal is a brand ambassador for the store's big and tall line, but his advice to Owens extended beyond appearances.
"It was very difficult to find clothes," O'Neal, who is 7-feet tall, said recalling struggles with his size when he was a teenager.
Owens tried on three suits. The first two got a thumbs down from Shaq, but the last one, a glittery black jacket with cropped pants, got the thumbs up.
"To know I can make a kid smile," O'Neal said. "It's just about making people happy."
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Shaquille O'Neal wasn't always Shaq. It took a while for him to grow into his size 22 shoes. Owens can identify.
"Sometimes when I go to the amusement parks, the rides, I can't fit on them like my peers, so I just gotta sit and watch sometimes," Owens said. "If I just keep working hard, keep doing what I'm doing, one day I will be in his position."
"I've done great things just by listening to my mom and dad," O'Neal said. "Start there."
"We want the best for him," Kylon's mother Kerrie Owens said. "I"m always talking to him to do this and do that, so I'm glad Shaq followed it up," Kylon's dad Sidney Owns said.
Owens will go to prom in April, but it will be hard to top the story of how he prepared for prom.
"I want to be the best player, best athlete, and best person I can be," Owens said.
Owens, a senior, wants to be in the NBA one day.