In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal and their online video magazine called “The Business of Celebrity,” Shaquille O’Neal talked about his favorite business investments, and disclosed a little factoid that many may not have known. More on that in a moment…
In a talk with reporter Lee Hawkins, Shaq talked about his business and investing relationships with companies such as 24 Hour Fitness, Five Guys Burgers, and his (current) favorite – Krispy Kreme Donuts. When asked why Krispy Kreme was getting his attention, Shaq had a simple answer: He really likes donuts, and so does his TNT Sports fellow NBA commentator Charles Barkley. Shaq says Barkley is his biggest customer! Shaq already owns several franchise locations, and says he wants to be “a large part of that business.”
Shaq also talked about another of his high-profile positions…that of CFO – Chief Fun Officer – for Carnival Cruise lines. Shaq says he never really knew much about cruising, even though he saw the ships of Carnival almost every day when he lived in Miami and played with the Heat. Shaq says when he checked out what cruising was really all about, it opened his eyes to the on-board fun.
But businessman Shaq says he didn’t think the cruise lines were doing a good job of getting the word out on how cruising had so much to offer… “Not just for old people” as he says. Shaq approached Carnival and offered to be their spokesman… an idea they went for, big time. Now as CFO, Shaq talks about all cruise vacations have to offer to everyone, including families with young children.
Like a lot of successful investors, Shaq talks about the power of good timing, “being in the right place at the right time,” and keeping eyes and ears open for opportunity. O’Neal says he invested in a lot of small, start-up businesses doing everyday stuff like clothing lines, etc. He says most of those never had a lot of success.
Yet Shaq says when he had the opportunity to invest in a little company called Google – very early in its business history – he decided to go for it. Needless to say, that’s worked out pretty well for the big man.. And for anyone else who got in early on tech and internet stocks.
But it’s not about the money. Shaq says there are some products and sponsorships he won’t get involved with, simply because he either doesn’t know or doesn’t use the product. Check out the full video on this page for a very funny story about breakfast cereals. “It’s not about the money…it’s about changing people’s lives.” Shaq says that’s something he heard from Amazon founder (and one of the richest men on Earth) Jeff Bezos talk about. He says when his businesses and investing started to use that same idea, his net worth quadrupled.
When asked what his dreams and aspirations are for the future, Shaq talked about going back to school to get a law degree, and to work with schools for the youngest kids (kindergarten through 4th grade) to be sure all kids get a good education. Shaq says he visits a school near where he lives on the southside of Atlanta.
Finally, here’s that fun fact we promised at the top of this post: Speaking of higher education, Shaq is already talking the talk AND walking the walk… he’s got a Doctorate degree in Education. Yes, it’s really, actually Doctor Shaq! O’Neal talks about that on the interview…how the basketball-playing Shaq will eventually be just another chapter in the NBA history books. That other players and teams will continue to make history and leave their mark. Yet Shaq – Doctor Shaq – wants to be remembered for bigger, better things that affect the lives of even more people, even more powerful ways.