When it comes to business deals, Shaquille O’Neal is “everywhere.” But when he decides to make a deal there is more to it than it seems. In fact, Shaq takes three steps before he makes any business deals.
Although he has an estimated net worth of $400 million, Shaq’s business acumen has been a subject of debate.
One misstep Shaq seems to have made is in the crypto space. Shaq was one of the celebs who signed on to promote Sam Bankman-Fried’s failed FTX crypto exchange.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last November, and its founder was arrested the following month and awaits a trial for fraud and conspiracy charges. He pleaded not guilty.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed by FTX investor Edwin Garrison against Shaq and other celebrities such as basketball star Stephen Curry and football’s Tom Brady, who all endorsed the cryptocurrency company.
According to Garrison, the celebs “failed to do their due diligence before giving their stamp of approval.”
But it seems Shaq might be trying to avoid getting served with court papers. Radar reports Garrison’s lawyers have been unsuccessful in serving the baller with papers, and have been trying for “almost four weeks.”
“We have spent great efforts (4 different service companies) trying to get you all served with our Complaint … Others have been more difficult to serve and are now joining these proceedings, either pro se or through counsel,” Garrison’s lawyers wrote in a recently revealed email obtained by Forbes. “Only one, however, has chosen to evade service, in order to draw out these proceedings, or to otherwise attempt to avoid answering for these allegations.”
That “one” appears to be Shaq, Radar reported.
In December 2022, Shaq did address the lawsuit during an interview with CNBC Make It.
He explained, he was a celebrity hired for an ad.
“A lot of people think I’m involved, but I was just a paid spokesperson for a commercial,” O’Neal stressed.
Shaq even admitted he didn’t know much about the crypto space.
“I don’t understand it, so I will probably stay away from it until I get a full understanding of what it is,” he said, adding: “From my experience, it is too good to be true.”
Shaq and Strange Corporate Partners
At times Shaq’s been revered as an astute dealmaker, some of his choices of corporate partners have come into question, such as his fronting for pizza chain Papa John’s following a scandal over racist comments made by the company’s owner.
Shaq has also been the face for such brands as Gold Bond, The General Automobile Insurance Services, Epson, and the list goes on.
In an interview with Inc. Magazine, Shaq said he’s fully aware of his commercial viability, but does not care about media perception.
Like the business magazine points out, Shaq is “one of the most recognizable humans on the planet,” and he is putting his reputation to good use.
Shaq’s Three Musts
Even though his corporate deals haven’t always gone smoothly, She insists he has a method.
“I’ve got a routine with this stuff,” Shaq told Inc. Magazine. “Any company I start or get involved with, I’ve got to have three things. First, I’ve got to have a real interest in the product. Second, it’s got to be something that I can see will help people. And, maybe most important, I’ve got to enjoy doing it.”
The NBA star-turned-commentator has his reasons for the bare bones requirements.
He has admitted to being “not smart” and has made bad investments.
Shaq explained to Inc. he is “not the smartest guy in the room… [he is] not coming in here telling people what to do. [He is] not trying to run a business.”
Shaq also told the magazine that he used to invest millions of dollars into companies that would fail in making a return on investment, saying, “It was just gone. I knew I had a lot to learn. I still do.”