NBA

Shaquille O’Neal Amassed Fortune and Purchased the Sacramento Kings

Since retiring from the NBA in 2011, Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t slowed down. He’s proven himself to be an adept businessman earning millions of dollars through a variety of endorsements and a diverse portfolio of investments. One of O’Neal’s most significant and intriguing investments is the purchase of a California-based NBA team and not the one he paired up with Kobe Bryant to win three titles at the turn of the century.  

Shaquille O’Neal’s investments and endorsements 

In his 19-year NBA career, Shaquille O’Neal made north of $286 million, the bulk of that coming from his time with the Los Angeles Lakers. O’Neal has continued to grow his wealth since his retirement through numerous strategic investments in the high-tech sector, including Google, Apple, and Ring.

O’Neal told the Wall Street Journal he uses a specific strategy for investing based on what he learned years ago from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

“I heard Jeff Bezos say one time [that] he makes his investments based on if it’s going to change people’s lives. Once I started doing that strategy, I think I probably quadrupled what I’m worth.” 

Shaquille O’Neal

When it comes to endorsements, there’s no one in the sports world who has done it better. According to the Investopedia website, O’Neal has endorsed more than 50 company’s product and services, including Papa John’s Pizza, The General car insurance, Carnival Cruises, and Icy Hot pain relief. It’s estimated that he annually earns between $25-30 million for his endorsements alone. 

Shaquille O’Neal becomes owner of Sacramento Kings

With so much success on the basketball court and in business since his retirement, it would make sense for O’Neal to invest a portion of his fortune into a basketball team if that opportunity ever became available.

That’s precisely what happened in 2013, according to Forbes, when O’Neal bought between a two and four percent stake in the Sacramento Kings. Some thought the deal was a ploy to help the Kings land a new downtown arena. In reality, O’Neal’s buy-in as part-owner was much more practical. 

O’Neal became friends with 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov years earlier when he was a regular at Mastrov’s gyms during his playing days in LA. When O’Neal was traded to the Heat in 2004 and there were no 24-Hour Fitness clubs to be found, the two partnered to build the first franchise in the South Florida area. 

Mastrov and his group, led by software billionaire Vivek Ranadive, purchased the Kings for a reported NBA-record $535 million earlier in 2013. A short time later, O’Neal met with Ranadive and Mastrov and was sold on the idea of joining the Kings ownership group.

O’Neal actively involved with Kings

Since joining the Kings, Shaquille O’Neal has been more actively involved in operations than you might think. He helped mentor a young DeMarcus Cousins, and soon after, the center became a perennial All-Star with the Kings.

In 2018, O’Neal, who has also invested in the esports world, was named the general manager of the Kings Guard Gaming in the inaugural season of the NBA 2K League. In this role, he served as an adviser to selecting the team’s six players in the NBA 2K draft.

While O’Neal has been more involved than most celebrity owners, he’s also had a few missteps along the way. One incident happened a couple of seasons ago when O’Neal erroneously told a Washington Wizards’ podcast that Washington was close to being a legitimate Eastern Conference threat, if they hadn’t lost an important contributor that offseason.

“They lost an important piece, Otto Porter, who’s now playing for my team in Sacramento,” O’Neal said.

Only problem was, Porter re-signed a four-year, $106.5-million deal with the Wizards. The Kings reportedly had offered Porter their own offer sheet, but he never signed it.

With so many irons in the fire, it’s not surprising O’Neal might get confused and make an occasional mistake. The question is, who’s going to tell him?