Top Stories

HBO special to detail Shaquille O'Neal's rise to dominance in business world

From NBA media reports

When it comes to leveraging a Hall of Fame playing career into a Hall of Fame post-playing career, few have done it the way Shaquille O’Neal has since he hung up his size 22 sneakers.

The NBA champion-turned TNT analyst/entertainer/entrepreneur has built a business empire, the foundation of which was constructed during his playing days. Now that he’s on the other side, he’s as omnipresent in the business world as he was on the court. If he’s not selling and endorsing products for a global brand, he’s doing the same for his own brand — he’s got his hands, and his name, on everything from sneakers and suits to jewelry and eye wear.

Shaq shares some of the details of his winning formula for transitioning from a dominant force on the court to a dominate force off the court with Bernard Goldberg on Tuesday’s episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (10:30 ET, HBO).

Known to basketball fans around the globe as one of the stars of TNT’s award-winning “Inside The NBA,” Shaq could teach a a master class in turning a bigger-than-life persona into a business portfolio to match.

He had that sort of confidence in himself during his playing days at LSU, even if one of his professors did not.

“My marketing professor said, ‘Okay, class, bring me something that you could see being sold in the foreseeable future.’ So, you know me. I came in with the Shaq shoes, Shaq socks, Shaq shirt, Shaq everything,” told Goldberg. “And the guy gave me a F. He actually embarrassed me in front of the class. He said, ‘Shaq, I know you’re full of yourself and I see you put a lot of time into this, but if you look at the climate of the NBA, big guys are not sellin’. This’ll never work.'”

What the professor didn’t know is that Shaq would generate more revenue after his playing days than he did during his best seasons in uniform.

When asked if he was making more money “selling stuff, endorsing stuff and investing in stuff” than he did when he was pulling down $30 million in one season playing in the NBA, Shaq said “Yes, I think so.”

But it wouldn’t be Shaq if there wasn’t a little comedy involved. And the fun-loving big man says that’s the point.

“The Shaq brand is all about fun,” he said. “I wanna be the guy that, for a brief moment of time, makes you go, raise your endorphins, raise your cheek bones when you think about it. I want to be that guy to make people laugh.”

* * *

Latest