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Shaq’s Visit Shakes the Bee Hive

“Meeting Shaq and Jimmy Fallon was a once-in-a-lifetime for them,”
By Jack Graves | August 16, 2018 – 9:48am

Shaquille O’Neal’s visit to Bridgehampton High School Friday brought out a big crowd for a screening there of the Cummings brothers’ “Killer Bees” documentary. Darryl Hemby, at right, who played on the 1986 state-championship team, perhaps the most dominant one in Killer Bee history, came up for it with his youth hoop players from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Courtesy of Getty, Photo by Eugene Gologursky

The Hive was swarming Friday as Shaquille O’Neal shot hoops with youngsters and who, prior to a screening of Ben and Orson Cummings’s documentary on the 2015-16 Bridgehampton High School boys basketball team, the Killer Bees, and the inspiring tradition behind it, told the crowd that he, too, had gone to a school like Bridgehampton.

Recounting his appearance afterward, Ben Cummings said, “Shaq said he also had had a relationship with his high school coach that reminded him of the dynamic that existed between Carl [Johnson] and the boys in the movie.”

“And he said he was happy to support a film that addressed so many of the nation’s problems, but which at the same time showed how sports can steer young people in the right direction, can help them value such things as teamwork, cooperation, and discipline, which he said were crucial if a young person were to successfully navigate the turbulent waters of the country’s present political and economic situation.”

Jimmy Fallon, the talk show host — and honorary Killer Bee who has known Johnson for a number of years — was there too, amiably dueling from the free-throw line with Ellajah Miller, a player on one of the former state-champion Killer Bee Darryl Hemby’s Eastern Shore Playaz youth basketball teams, who had made the trip up from Virginia, the first time about half of them had been out of their state.

“Meeting Shaq and Jimmy Fallon was a once-in-a-lifetime for them,” Hemby’s wife, Nicki, said in an email Monday. “You don’t get opportunities like this where they’re from . . . they woke up as local celebrities this morning on social media.”