Skip to main content

In the world of professional basketball, it’s hard to get bigger, both literally and figuratively, than Shaquille O’Neal. On the court, the center proved to be a dominant player. While he’s no longer throwing down slam dunks, the Big Aristotle is still a force to be reckoned with, thanks to his success as a businessman and his massive net worth.

Shaq recently revealed the one driving force behind his off-court success. Despite his impressive basketball resume, O’Neal is still motivated by one reality that everyone experiences.

Shaquille O’Neal’s Hall of Fame basketball career

Shaquille O’Neal burst onto the basketball scene during his time at LSU. While the center didn’t create much offense as a freshman, he quickly became force; Shaq averaged nearly 28 points a game as a sophomore and a shade over 24 as a junior. During three seasons with the Tigers, he was a two-time All-American, two-time SEC Player of the Year, and 1991’s NCAA Men’s’ Basketball Player of the Year.

That collegiate success compelled the Orlando Magic selected Shaq with the first overall pick of the 1992 NBA draft. Working with Brian Hill, the big man promptly took his game to the next level; he captured the 1993 Rookie of the Year Award, but only continued to improve. Before long, he was leading the league in scoring and playing his way into the MVP conversation.

In 1996, O’Neal joined the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency; he would win three titles with Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson before their relationship broke down. Shaq then won another ring in Miami with Dwyane Wade before bouncing around the league a bit and eventually retiring.

An impressive investment portfolio and net worth

During his playing career, Shaquille O’Neal earned almost $300 million from his various contracts. While the big man no longer hits the court on a nightly basis, he still takes home plenty of money.

In addition to his various gigs, which range from the NBA on TNT to commercials for various brands, O’Neal is also a savvy businessman. Shaq was an early investor in both Google and Apple, among other companies; he also owns fast-food franchises, car washes, and an apartment complex in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.

Thanks to those investments, Shaq brings in roughly $60 million per year. Despite his playing career ending almost 10 years ago, his net worth has ballooned to a reported $400 million.

Fear is Shaquille O’Neal’s motivating factor

Professional sports are filled with countless cautionary tales of athletes who lost massive amounts of money after their game checks stopped coming in. Shaquille O’Neal’s wanted to make sure he didn’t go down the same path.

“Fear,” Shaq explained to Zack O’Malley Greenburg of Vanity Fair. “Seventy-five percent of all athletes go broke two years after they’re playing…I went back, got my master’s in business, and my doctorate. Watched guys like Magic [Johnson] and [Michael] Jordan, and I’ve watched them very, very close. People said, ‘You gotta invest, you gotta know what you’re investing in.”

While fear can be a paralyzing force, it can also be a great motivator. Shaquille O’Neal used it as the latter; based on his net worth, however, he has nothing to worry about anymore.