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Papa Johns Investor Shaq Sold His Auntie Anne’s Franchises Because ‘Black People Don’t like Pretzels That Much’

NBA great Shaquille O’Neal has many successful investments, but pretzels isn’t one of them.

During his appearance on the podcast “Earn Your Leisure,” Shaq revealed he sold his Auntie Anne’s Pretzels franchises.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 01: Shaquille O’Neal speaks during The Event hosted by the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation at MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation)

What Went Wrong

Not only were the numbers not adding up for the Basketball Hall of Famer, but he said he found out that Black people just aren’t into pretzels, opting for pizza instead.

It is not confirmed if he sold all 17 franchises.

“You know we love pizza. I sold my Auntie Anne’s. Because Black people don’t like pretzels that much. So I had to switch it up,” he said.

“Naw, the cinnamon ones we eat,” Earn Your Leisure co-host Troy Millings shot back.

“Maaan, nobody eat cinnamon pretzels,” Shaq countered. “Maaan, if you don’t get your Vince Carter lookin’ ass outta here.”

He added, “At first, it was a good investment, but the numbers …”

Shaq’s pretzel comment on the popular podcast began trending on social media, With many calling into question Black people’s affinity for pretzels.

Missed Investment Opportunities?

Shaq’s “Black people don’t like pretzels” comment sounds similar to his comments regarding Starbucks about how Black people don’t drink coffee, a missed opportunity he had to own franchises in Black communities.

Shaq once passed up an opportunity to invest in Starbucks.

“‘Howard Schultz wants to do business with you, And I’m like coffee? Because growing up, in my household, I’d never seen a Black person drink coffee. Black people don’t drink coffee, sir. I don’t think it’s going to work. And you should have seen his face,’” Shaq said back in 2015.

Schultz served as both chairman and CEO of Starbucks from 1986 to 2000, from 2008 to 2017, and as interim CEO since 2022. He also owned the Seattle SuperSonics NBA team from 2001 to 2006.

Shaq Does Know Food

While some called out Shaq’s comments about pretzels, the record shows the over 7-foot-tall sports commentator knows what Black consumers want to eat.

Shaq has investment and ownership in many businesses, including 155 Five Guys restaurants, a Krispy Kreme franchise, and a movie theater.

He also owns the Big Chicken fast food restaurant that serves signature chicken sandwiches, and he owns several Papa John’s branches.

Shaq, who has a net worth of $400 million, is a graduate of Barry University, where he obtained a doctorate in 2012. Barry is a private Catholic university in Miami Shores, Florida.

O’Neal has a doctoral degree in education. He was enrolled in the university’s Adrian Dominican School of Education and received his doctoral degree in organizational learning and leadership with a specialization in human resource development.

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