Shaquille O’Neal reveals he turned down $40 million offer from Reebok after a woman cursed him out for charging kids too much for sneakers
- On a recent podcast, Shaquille O’Neal was asked for his best business decision
- O’Neal, 49, said he turned down a five-year, $40 million offer from Reebok after a woman cursed him out for charging so much for children’s sneakers
- O’Neal tried to give her $2,000, but she slapped it out of his hand and began yelling at him: ‘Why don’t you motherf***ers make a shoe that’s affordable?’
- The woman had a point, O’Neal said, adding that he then decided to turn down a $40 million, five-year offer from Reebok to make a cheaper shoe with Walmart
Known as much for his endorsement deals as he is for basketball, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal revealed this week that his best business move was his decision to walk away from a $40 million deal with Reebok — and he owes it all to a stranger who cursed him out on the street.
‘A lady ripped me a new a**hole while leaving the arena one day,’ the 49-year-old Hall of Famer said on the ‘Full Send’ podcast.
Without specifying the year or where he was playing at the time, O’Neal said he was leaving an arena when a woman called him a ‘motherf***er’ for charging children so much for his shoes.
Shaquille O’Neal attends the launch of Shaq Attaq at Foot Locker on February 15, 2014 in Metairie, Louisiana. Although O’Neal says he turned down a $40 million offer with the sneaker brand, he has continued to have occasional dealings with Reebok over the years
Shaquille O’Neal visits the opening of Reebok Classic Gwangbok-dong store on August 21, 2015 in Busan, South Korea
‘I had $2,000 in my pocket,’ O’Neal explained. ‘I said, ”Lady I don’t make the prices, here you go,” and she smacked the money out of my hand, [and said], ”Why don’t you motherf***ers make a shoe that’s affordable?”
The woman had a point, according to O’Neal, who claims he then decided to turn down a $40 million, five-year offer from Reebok.
‘I was like, ”You know what, she’s right.”
‘So that day, I cut ties with Reebok and started my own brand,’ he said.
‘I said: ”Keep the money… this ain’t right. I’ll still wear the shoes I wear during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing.” So, I started the Shaq brand.’
Although he says he turned Reebok down, a 1998 Reuters article claims the company cut ties O’Neal, who was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers at the time. In this 1997 shot, O’Neal is being defended by the Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson
Although he says he turned Reebok down, a 1998 Reuters article claims the company cut ties O’Neal, who was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers at the time.
Regardless, O’Neal went to partner with Walmart on a more affordable sneaker.
‘I went to my favorite store, Walmart, and we did a deal,’ he said. ‘I was in all stores and my price point for the shoes was $29-$19 and since then we sold over 400 million pairs. It’s not kids that don’t want to wear $20 shoes, they don’t want to wear shoes that look like they cost $20.’
O’Neal played in Reebok throughout his career, occasionally endorsing their products, such as when they re-released some of his older sneakers in 2016. This year, the sneaker company was sold to Authentic Brands Group (ABG), in which he was already invested.
The seven-foot center made nearly $300 million over 19 NBA seasons, but says he’s earned more money in business since retiring in 2011.
In addition to being heavily invested in the bond market, O’Neal is also invested in real estate – including projects – eSports franchises, a Krispy Kreme donut location, and several tech companies, not to mention the fact that he’s a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings.
Retired NBA Players Shaquille O’Neal (L) and Dee Brown attends as Reebok Classic and Shaquille O’Neal launch the new Shaq Attaq x Sneaker Politics shoe in 2017 in New Orleans
O’Neal has made an effort to make more affordable shoes for children over the years