Shaquille O’Neal Once Made ‘the Biggest Purchase in Walmart History,’ Spending $70,000 After Midnight

Both in a literal and a figurative sense, Shaquille O’Neal is a larger-than-life guy. Thanks to his massive frame, the big man put together a legendary NBA career; in retirement, he’s found success both as a businessman and a media personality, building up a massive net worth. Even a simple trip to Walmart is a big deal for Shaq.

Shortly after joining the Phoenix Suns, Shaquille O’Neal took a trip to Walmart. While it was in the early hour of the morning and his credit card was declined in the process, the big man still managed to spend $70,000 in a single shopping spree.

Shaquille O’Neal was one of the NBA’s biggest stars

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From a cynical perspective, you could argue that it’s pretty easy to play basketball when you’re more than seven feet tall. With that being said, though, Shaquille O’Neal was talented, regardless of his size.

Shaq first made a name for himself in high school and, when it came time to step up to the next level, he headed to LSU. The big man ended up playing three seasons of NCAA basketball in the bayou, earning 1991 National Player of the Year honors, before entering the 1992 NBA draft.

O’Neal, of course, became the first-overall pick of that draft and joined the Orlando Magic. Despite the step-up in competition, Shaq proved to be quite the talent; he captured the Rookie of the Year title and, before long, looked like a legitimate star. In order to reach the next level, though, he had to leave Florida.

Looking to win championships, the center joined the LA Lakers and teamed up with Kobe Bryant. While the two stars didn’t always get along, they did win three titles together; Shaq would later earn a fourth ring with the Miami Heat.

When all was said and done, the Big Aristotle spent 19 seasons in the association, averaging 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per outing. Beyond his four championships, he also won three NBA Finals MVP awards, took home 2000 NBA MVP honors, and established himself as one of the top big men in modern basketball history.

Shaq’s net worth has only gotten larger in retirement

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Based on Spotrac’s financial numbers, Shaquille O’Neal earned more than $286 million in salary during his time in the NBA. In retirement, though, Shaq’s net worth has only continued to grow.

In addition to his media work on TNT, which surely brings in a nice salary, O’Neal has shown a knack for making some savvy business decisions. The big man has invested in Google, Apple, and other big-name companies; he’s also bought into fast-food franchises, endorsed plenty of brands, and stared in countless commercials.

In total, Shaquille O’Neal’s net worth is estimated at $400 million. The former center, it seems, only does things big.

Shaquille O’Neal once spent $70,000 at Walmart in the wee hours of the morning

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When you have somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million in the bank, it’s easy to drop sizable sums of money without much trouble. Shaquille O’Neal, it seems, did just that during an early-morning trip to Walmart in 2008.

“I have the biggest purchase in Walmart history,” Shaq explained on The Late Late Show with James Corden. “$70,000. I get traded from Miami to Phoenix, and I’m the type of guy [that] I have no patience. So when I get to Phoenix, they have an apartment for me. Nothing’s in it.”

Even though it was somewhere in the neighborhood of two or three in the morning, Shaq immediately headed out to Walmart, hoping to buy everything from new sheets to “four or five TVs.” When he reached the register, though, there was a problem.

“At the end, it was $70,000, so I put my credit card in. Got declined,” O’Neal continued. “And I put it back in, [it] said declined again. So now I’m saying, ‘I know I’m not broke.” The big man then got a call from American Express, thinking his card had been stolen; he explained that he was in Phoenix, spending $70,000 at Walmart in the early hours of the morning, and the company reactivated his card.

Under ordinary circumstances, a massive Walmart purchase at 3 a.m. would raise quite a few eyebrows. Thanks to Shaq’s net worth, though, all the normal rules about buying things went out the window. When you’re an NBA star with millions in the bank, there’s no need to wait until morning to furnish your apartment.