Going down as one of the greatest players in NBA history is Shaquille O’Neal, commonly nicknamed Shaq. Despite being so successful on the court, he is also one of the richest NBA players ever thanks to the shrewd investments he has made off the back of his basketball success.
Shaq certainly knew how to utilize the money he earned from his basketball career to create more opportunities and avoid the financial hardships many retired players end up facing. Now at 50 years old, Shaq’s net worth is estimated to be at a whopping $400 million.
Shaq And The NBA
You may know him as being one half of the famous dynamic duo alongside Kobe Bryant, where they teamed up to represent the Los Angeles Lakers and took 3 straight NBA Championships.
Following this, Shaq won his 4th NBA championship with the Miami Heat. Not forgetting being a three-time NBA Finals MVP, 1996 Olympic Gold medallist along with several other individual accolades throughout – Shaq’s career is one that is quite difficult to match for anyone. His estimated earnings during his playing career is $292,198,327.
The former NBA big man was known for his physicality and size, standing at 7-foot-1. He played in the NBA for 19 years (1992-2011) across six teams. Despite being retired for over a decade, Shaq is still a well-loved and talked about player amongst many basketball fans today. Shaq is now a sports analyst on the TV program ‘Inside the NBA’ which features highlights, interviews and bloopers of games.
What Businesses Does Shaq Own?
Outside of basketball, Shaq owns over 50 businesses across several different industries. NBC Sports says Shaq also has at least partial ownership in 155 Five Guys Burger restaurants, 17 Auntie Annie’s Pretzels restaurants, 150 car washes, 40 24-hour fitness centers, a shopping center, a movie theater, and several Las Vegas nightclubs. And that’s not even all of them.
Here’s a full breakdown:
Starting with the one that Shaq owns the most is Five Guys. By owning 155 Five Guys restaurants, Shaq actually owns more than 10% of Five Guys’ entire franchises, bringing in quite a decent amount back into his pocket.
Another industry that Shaq owns in numerous locations is car washes, which turns out to be one of the first business investments he made before building up the business empire he owns today.
Perhaps one of Shaq’s most known involvements is his shoe brand, which famously started due to a mother stating how NBA players sneakers were all $150 or more. Touched by this, Shaq decided to create affordable shoes whilst maintaining comfort and style.
By using Shaq’s voice, name, and face in their advertisements, Shaq received $8.5 million from Papa John’s as a brand ambassador. Shaq also joined the company as an investor and board member, where he invested around $840,000 in 9 different restaurants across Atlanta.
Krispy Kreme is Shaq’s favorite, simply because he loves donuts! Whilst he only owns one Krispy Kreme outlet currently with an estimated investment value of almost $3 million, he has plans to own 100 and further expand in the donut industry.
In 2012, Shaq bought a movie theater in his hometown of Newark, NJ. Having made big improvements to the building, the business has been nothing short of thriving there too.
It wouldn’t be right if the former basketball legend didn’t invest in the sporting industry! Shaq’s partnership with Reebok goes way back to 1992 when he signed a $15 million deal. This is also where he launched the popular shoe, Reebok Shaq Attaq. Shaq has his eyes set on owning Reebok through his partnership with Authentic Brands Groups (ABG).
After playing a genie in the film Kazaam, Shaq gained a few endorsements. One of them was for Buick in 2012, which turned out to be one of the most memorable and hysterical endorsements Shaq ever did. The footage of Shaq fitting inside a Buick, alongside a few clever lines showed his lovable personality and provided a lot of entertainment for others.
Not only does Shaq invest in several companies, but he also founded a restaurant of his own in 2018 – named Big Chicken. Earlier this year, they announced a huge move into the four largest markets in Texas, bringing Big Chicken to San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas.
This story begins in the late 90’s when Shaq was babysitting a child who was waiting for his dad to finish a meeting in the lobby at the Four-Season Hotel in LA. The dad convinced Shaq to invest in Google, which was in 2004 when it was $75/share. Today, Google stocks are worth $1200/share. You could say that was a decent return on investment!
Shaq still gets involved in the more mainstream investments including Real Estate. Shaq even created The O’Neal Group in 2006, with their first project being The Met Miami. He started out buying homes for $10-12,000, fixing them up, then selling them for $25-30,000 before eventually moving on to bigger projects.
More businesses Shaq is Involved With
- Shaquille (his own restaurant)
- Elvis Presley (A percentage of royalties)
- Marilyn Monroe (A percentage of royalties)
- Forever 21
- The General
- JC Penney
- NRG eSports
- Sacramento Kings
- Soda Shaq
How did Shaq do this?
Even though Shaq has been retired for over a decade, how does he still earn a very respectable paycheck each month? Firstly, the popularity of his media personality has brought him many opportunities outside of the basketball court. He gained several nicknames including The Big Aristotle, Shaq Fu, and The Big Daddy, which definitely helped him seal a few deals which he took full advantage of.
Shaq also made smart decisions in the way he spent the money he earned on the court, and was able to create a heap more wealth outside of the court beyond endorsement deals and into entrepreneurial ventures. Shaq acknowledged that his basketball career would not last a lifetime, and was proactive to find ways of making money outside of sport, building a solid foundation for when he would eventually retire. He would ask himself ‘How do Michael Jackson and all these guys live forever?’
However, Shaq wasn’t always like this. He knew nothing about taxes in the beginning, and it was only after being warned by his banker about his spending of the first million dollars he made, did he become aware of taking care of his money and learning how best to spend it.
Shaq has credited Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, for where he learned his investing philosophy, stating that Bezos only invests in businesses that change people’s lives. Once Shaq followed this, he shared that his net worth quadrupled. Alongside his investments, Shaq continues to build his personal brand by appearing in many commercials too.
Does Shaq even have time for anything else?
Though owning brands and showing off his personality is his main source of income, you’d be surprised to hear how many other things he gets involved in too.
- Academia: Did you know Shaq has a PhD in his pocket too? He worked on an educational doctorate at Barry University towards the end of his playing career on the topic “The Duality of Humor and Aggression in Leadership Styles”.
- Music: Shaq began to compose rap in 1993, and since has released four rap albums, the first (Shaq Diesel) reaching platinum. Shaq is also an electronic music producer, touring DJ, and conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra in 2010.
- Acting: Shaq has appeared in several films including Blue Chips, Kazzam, and Steel. He has also been featured in several commercials and has had his own reality shows.
- Mixed martial arts: Shaq trained in boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, and wrestling.
- Law enforcement: Having always been interested in police departments, Shaq became a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police and serves an honorary role on the task force.
Is there anything Shaq doesn’t do?
It’s a valid question for sure. Whilst it may seem like Shaq does anything and everything, and is fearless with his choices, Shaq is still very careful with what he invests in.
For example, he won’t invest in cryptocurrency since he doesn’t understand it, and he rejected a deal with Starbucks as he felt black people couldn’t relate to it. With a humble perspective, Shaq says, “I make investments, not for the monetary reasons, but… if it’s going to change people’s lives — and if I see people enjoy doing it”. Despite all the money he has, you can see that Shaq has a kind heart and likes to help those who are less fortunate.
It’s honestly quite hard to keep up with what Shaq owns, but hopefully, you’ve been able to gain a bit of insight here. What can be agreed though is how impressive his portfolio is. He is now making more as a retired athlete than he did during his legendary 19-year NBA career. Estimates show his yearly earnings to be around $60 million, which will only continue to increase as Shaq continues making more investments and it doesn’t look like he will be stopping anytime soon!