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Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most famous basketball players of all time. And that’s not just because of his illustrious career with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Hall of Famer has also made a name for himself as an accomplished entrepreneur, investing in food, furniture, and even shoes. But Shaq’s latest venture—a shoe deal worth $40 million—wasn’t exactly the way he imagined.
On the June 28th episode of ESPN’s Highly Questionable, Shaq attempted to diffuse profane tirade by 24-year-old Tom Brady who was upset about his $40 million shoe deal. Shaq called Tom to his house, where he asked him to show up for a meeting at his home wearing nothing but his underwear. After Tom agreed, Shaq ordered two of his employees to take Tom to the store, where he was told to buy $2,000 worth of shoes. Once Tom got home, he was asked to try on the shoes, which he did, but he still felt like there was something missing.
One of the ongoing jokes about Shaquille O’Neal is that he didn’t retire from the NBA just because he was 39 years old. Rather, it was because the 20 minutes a night he spent playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics during his last two seasons was reducing the amount of time he had available to pursue new business opportunities and tape commercials.
If it seems like Shaq would accept any contract placed in front of him, he recounts a tale about turning down a $40 million offer when a lady chastised him over exorbitant shoe costs.
Shaquille O’Neal’s corporate empire is alive and well.
On April 7, 2021, in McDonough, Georgia, Shaquille O’Neal speaks at the Pepsi Stronger Together and CTG Foundation Atlanta Law Enforcement event. | Stronger Together/Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Pepsi
While still playing in the NBA, O’Neal dabbled in film and music in addition to earning more than $290 million. He also raked in the cash from Reebok’s shoe and clothing deals, as well as endorsements from Buick and Pepsi.
He extended his commercial activities over time, mixing endorsement agreements with Krispy Kreme and Papa John’s with the possibility of becoming a franchisee. He also acquired a part owner of the Sacramento Kings, which he just sold to join a regulated sports betting company.
Shaq is still well-known these days for his work as a TNT NBA analyst. He continues to add media engagements, including appearances on All Elite Wrestling. O’Neal is also contributing his voice to a customized version of Amazon’s Alexa gadget, which was unveiled in July.
Shaquille O’Neal used $2,000 to try to stop a vulgar rant.
Soon after being drafted first overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, O’Neal began promoting Reebok sneakers. Although Michael Jordan’s Nike brand became the uncontested champion of basketball sneakers, Reebok positioned a line of Shaq models in the $100 range and sold well.
Shaq, on the other hand, claims that being chastised by a lady over the expense of his shoes gave him a “moment of clarity” that led to his breaking away from Reebok on the eve of his re-up. He was ready to sign a five-year deal for $40 million, but O’Neal chose to work with Walmart on a lower-cost line.
On the Full Send Podcast, O’Neal stated, “I’m leaving the arena one day and this woman is ripping me a new one.” “’You m————, you’re charging these infants so much for the shoes,’ I say. I had about $2,000 in my pocket and said, “Ma’am.” The pricing aren’t set by me. ‘Here it is.’
The lady slapped the money from O’Neal’s hands and proceeded to fire into him, telling him that players should design more inexpensive sneakers.
“I considered it,” O’Neal replied. “I said to myself, ‘You know what? She is correct.’ So on that day, I parted ways with Reebok and launched my own company.”
The Hall of Famer was correct in his argument.
O’Neal completed the year in his trademark sneakers, but sought the help of designers to create something that Walmart could sell for as low as $19. He claimed that the big store had sold 200 million pairs as recently as last year. On this week’s show, O’Neal said that the figure had risen to 400 million.
Whatever his share of the profits is, O’Neal might have earned a lot more money if he had continued to sell Reeboks for $149 or more each. He declined the additional cash in order to convey a message to children.
“I don’t care how much money it costs me to make these kids look and feel wonderful. You can still feel good about them despite the fact that they’re just $20.
“Shaq isn’t the greatest player in the planet, but he’s also not the worst.”
Shaquille O’Neal is a basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
And he’s the one who worked out that kids don’t always want to wear $20 shoes, but they’ll gladly wear them if they don’t look like $20 shoes.
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