Shaquille O’Neal has always been more than just a dominant basketball player.
The “Big Diesel” has routinely been among the most marketable, charismatic and sometimes controversial players in the history of the NBA. He is also quite the entrepreneur.
Below is a full assessment of O’Neal’s net worth, which as of 2019 was reported to be north of $400 million.
Shaq cashed out during the course of his NBA career.
Shaquille O’Neal made over $292 million as an NBA player, making him one of the most lucrative in league history. He was already one of the most dominant bigs in the league as soon as he was selected by the Orlando Magic with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft.
But it was Shaq’s first deal with the Los Angeles Lakers that was really a ground-breaking contract at that point in time. Jerry West did everything possible to bring O’Neal to Hollywood, gutting the entire roster so as to sign Shaquille O’Neal to a seven-year, $120 million deal in the summer of 1996.
This kind of money would be regarded as paltry by today’s standards. But back then, such a guarantee was practically unheard of, particularly considering the back-loaded nature of the deal.
Shaquille O’Neal would eventually sign a new deal with the Miami Heat in the summer of 2005, one which would pay him over $100 million during the course of the next five years. This included his rather forgettable 2009-10 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, just 12.0 points and 6.7 rebounds during an injury-riddled campaign.
Shaquille O’Neal finished his NBA career with the fourth-highest earnings in NBA history, behind former teammates Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as well as Kevin Garnett.
Shaquille O’Neal’s basketball career was barely getting started when he also started to entertain rapping.
Shaq signed a record deal in 1993 and subsequently released his first studio album, entitled Shaq Diesel. Initially, he had tons of success. Shaq Diesel actually went platinum and Shaq Fu: Da Return went gold. It seemed O’Neal really did have a budding career in music.
Of course, rap was not O’Neal’s day job during that time. His career as a rapper quickly fizzled out, though his time in music was far from over.
Ever the performer and entertainer, Shaquille O’Neal has taken to rocking DJ sets all around the country, including a performance at Lollapalooza in Chicago last summer.
Shaq’s sets hardly seem lucrative, but it is clear DJing is something he loves as a hobby.
It would appear Shaquille O’Neal will continue to explore the music scene so long as he is still willing and able.
Shaq has hardly been shy about his willingness to invest in a multitude of businesses throughout the years, especially in the food industry.
According to Money.com, Shaquille O’Neal once owned up to 155 Five Guys restaurants, or 10 percent of the company portfolio. Last March, it was announced O’Neal would be joining the board of directors at Papa John’s, with the promise he would invest in nine stores in the Atlanta area while also becoming one of the leading brand ambassadors.
Auntie Anne’s and Krispy Kreme donuts are other food companies which been the beneficiaries of Shaq investments.
The “Big Fella” has also invested in gyms and car washes, while previously holding a share in the Ring doorbell company prior to Amazon’s $1 billion buyout in 2018. Then of course, there are also long-standing relationships with Icy Hot and Gold Bond.
Needless to say, Shaquille O’Neal has no issue diversifying his profile, so long as the company or business in question fits his personal brand and vivacity.
Smart investments by Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal told the story of how he blew his first NBA check in one day during an appearance on Complex’s “Hot Ones” interview show.
But it would seem he wised up pretty quickly.
Shaq made early investments in Google and Apple, two financial decisions which are still paying dividends two decades later.
Shaquille O’Neal has also been on record saying he has adopted a Jeff Bezos credo when deciding whether to invest (via Megan Hernbroth of Business Insider):
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, O’Neal said: “I heard Jeff Bezos say one time [that] he makes his investments based on if it’s going to change people’s lives,” and “once I started doing that strategy, I think I probably quadrupled what I’m worth.”
While he might have been young and naive when he first entered the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal has since acquired plenty of business acumen.
Other notables for Shaquille O’Neal
Most NBA fans might not be aware of Shaq’s portfolio, but they almost certainly have seen him on TV as a member of TNT’s “Inside the NBA.”
Some former NBA fans tend to rest on their laurels after retirement. Not Shaquille O’Neal.
It would seem Shaquille O’Neal’s business career is still in its early stages, if his track record is any indication. The only question for the “Diesel” is: what next?