- Born: March 6, 1972
- Best Movie: Blue Chips
- Best Character: Steel
- Net Worth: $400 million
Shaquille O’Neal, otherwise known as Shaq, has been in the public eye for decades since he joined the NBA as a basketball phenom in the early 1990s (and even had a superhero turn). Born of humble beginnings, Shaq has amassed a large following amongst his most ardent fans in various cities around the country. It’s among many reasons Shaq’s net worth has been much-discussed.
He played for several professional basketball teams and became a noted rapper, but his overall net worth stems from many of the companies he endorsed during and after his basketball playing career.
But what is Shaq’s net worth, and how did the multitalented New Jersey native gain his wealth?
SHAQ’S CURRENT NET WORTH IS IN FLUX BECAUSE OF LEGAL ISSUES WITH FTX
Several high-profile celebrities, including Shaq, became paid spokespersons for the cryptocurrency exchange called FTX in 2021. As of earyl 2023, FTX filed for bankruptcy, and Shaq’s personal stake in the company was wiped out along with many other customers.
CNBC reports that Shaq is currently distancing himself from the company, as ongoing legal troubles flood his way via a class-action lawsuit, claiming the company and Shaq promoted unregistered securities.
SHAQ IS 50 YEARS OLD AND WAS BORN IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Shaq was raised by Lucille O’Neal and his stepfather Phillip Arthur Harrison. Shaq’s biological father was not involved in his son’s life for very long, struggling with drug use and being imprisoned when Shaq was just an infant.
When Shaq decided to take on a rap career in the mid-1990s, he dedicated the song “Biological Didn’t Bother” to the hatred he still felt at the time for his biological father.
He owes much of his height to both sides of his family. His mother and father stood over 6 feet tall in their adult years. Shaq has remarked that he was already 6’6″ by the time he was 13 and joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in his hometown of Newark around this time.
According to an interview the basketball star gave to Parade, Shaq remarked about the Boys & Girls Clubs of America giving him something to do, noting, “I’d just go there to shoot. I didn’t even play on a team.”
SHAQ’S NET WORTH STARTS WITH HIS FIRST CONTRACT, FOR $40 MILLION
Due to Shaq’s stepfather being in the military, his family moved quite a bit during his teen years but eventually settled in San Antonio, Texas. By this point, he was close to seven feet tall and started playing basketball for the local high school. At Robert G. Cole High School, he helped lead the basketball team to a state championship in his senior year.
College scouts took note of Shaq’s ability to make hook shots and often compared him to player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He chose to study at Louisiana State University, where he joined the college basketball team and earned the SEC Player of the Year twice.
While at LSU, he was drafted as the first overall pick by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA draft.
According to a report by The New York Times, Shaq and his net worth increased dramatically in 1992 when he signed a contract with the Orlando Magic worth $40 million over seven years. It was the most lucrative deal the team had made up to that point in sports history.
HE EARNED $300 MILLION PLAYING BASKETBALL
Playing for the Orlando Magic helped make Shaq a household name, not just with fans of the team but with those who marveled at his size and stature. A seemingly kind individual who towered over most people in America, Shaq earned Rookie of the Year for his first season. He played Center for the Orlando Magic from 1992 to 1996.
After becoming a free agent, Shaq played in the Olympics as part of the United States Olympic basketball team in 1996. He helped win the team a gold medal over the former Yugoslavia.
Around this time, Shaq had interested parties vying for him to join their city’s team. He chose to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers for a contract worth $121 million over seven years.
Shaq noted at the time that he did not want to go to Los Angeles for the money but never shied away from mentioning his endorsement deals as much as he could. The New York Times reports that Shaq was quoted as saying, “I’m tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok.”
Much was written about his professional relationship with the teenage newbie Kobe Bryant during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers. The two stars helped lift the Lakers to two NBA Championships during Shaq’s time on the team. He remained with the Lakers until 2004.
After playing basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq moved on to other teams like the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Boston Celtics. At this point in his life, he was sidelined with injuries on and off during the active playing season.
Shaq helped bring the Miami Heat to win the NBA championship and solidified his legacy as one of the all-time greats ever to play the game.
His contracts with these teams resulted in Shaq’s net worth skyrocketing. For example, Shaq signed a five-year extension with the Miami Heat in 2005 for $100 million, which was considered a pay cut at the time.
Many of the team’s fans believed the basketball star was worth more than $20 million per year, as other players of lesser talent earned around the same amount.
HE ENDORSED MANY PRODUCTS INCLUDING PEPSI, APPLE, AND BUICK, WITH AN INVESTMENT IN GOOGLE
As any casual observer of professional sports and Shaq’s career knows, a player’s salary is just one factor in their overall net worth. During the early 1990s, Shaq became interested in stocks and bonds, investing in companies like General Electric, PepsiCo, and Apple.
He was also an early investor in Google, and at one point franchised 155 burger restaurants and 40 gyms, according to El País.
A lover of the franchise model, Shaq has seen his net worth rise primarily due to his keen interest in diverse types of businesses. He has purchased Krispy Kreme locations, bought and sold over 100 Five Guys establishments, car washes, and Auntie Anne’s pretzel restaurants.
He joined the Papa John’s board of directors in 2019, becoming their spokesperson after the ousting of founder John Schnatter.
Shaq often flaunts his net worth via his business ventures on social media. His Instagram account has over 28 million followers, who can see pictures of Shaq’s Krispy Kreme location in Atlanta, Georgia.
SHAQ HAS BEEN IN MOVIES, SERIES, AND COMMERCIALS
Shaq has accumulated his net worth and wealth outside of basketball by entertaining the masses via his rap career, film appearances, and sports analyst work. He released four studio albums as a rapper, all within five years during the 1990s when he was still playing professional basketball.
Shaq also appeared in several movies as himself and other characters, including Blue Chips, Kazaam, Good Burger, Steel, Blended, and Hubie Halloween. For his work as an actor in movies, Shaq earned three nominations for the Golden Raspberry Awards. However, he has yet to “win” any of these awards.
After Shaq retired, he was expected to become a sports analyst on a pre-game or post-game television show during the NBA season. Many former professional sports players become analysts to earn extra money in retirement.
Shaq signed with the TNT network to be an analyst for its NBA games in 2011, a position he held for many years until signing with Warner Bros. Discovery to host Inside the NBA starting in 2022.
Since the 1990s, Shaq has been a mainstay in advertisements on television. He has promoted brands worldwide on television for decades, including Reebok, Gold Bond, Buick, The General, Hulu, IcyHot, and Nestlé.
SHAQ’S NET WORTH IS $400 MILLION
According to various sources, 50-year-old Shaq has a net worth of $400 million. He is considered among the wealthiest professional basketball players of all time. Due to his steady portfolio of business investments, Shaq’s net worth could go higher, but it ultimately depends on what comes of his legal situation with FTX.
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