Most people know that Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest basketball players that ever lived, that he is a member of law enforcement, a platinum-selling recording artist, has a doctorate, and is a father. They also know that he is a shrewd businessman. What they don’t realize is that some of his most lucrative investments have been by accident.
Something Called Google
Such is the case with his investment in a search engine called “Google.”
While speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, he talked about all the ways he has invested in technology in the past, noting that it was Jeff Bezos that opened his eyes to how tech can be used to teach.
“I went to a conference in ’97 or ’98 and I heard a beautiful bald-headed man by the name of Jeff Bezos say if you invest in things, it’s going to change people’s lives,” O’Neal said.
“So when Kyle came into the office and he started talking about children, about education and his love for children, I knew it was going to be a great fit,” Shaq continued. “And when I heard Jeff Bezos say that I started investing in things that’s gonna change people’s lives. And that’s been great for me, and I don’t like to sit up here like I’m an expert, but that has always been my style.”
Google is currently valued at $1.657 trillion, according to Companies Market Cap.
“It was presented to me, I knew it was gonna hit and I said, ‘Wow, I’ll try it.’ My only regret is that I wish I would have bought more,” O’Neal allegedly said to Insider.
Using education as a guideline for his tech investments was a motivation for him to get behind Edsoma.
But it was not at all a factor for the 15-time NBA All-Star to dump money into Google.
“I was at Four Seasons, I was eating lunch and there were four distinguished gentlemen sitting there playing with their kids and the kids recognized me and they’re playing with me,” the Jersey native said. “Basically, I’m doing a babysitting job and one gentleman says, ‘I want to talk about this company called Google’ and just talking about search engines and ‘you’ll be able to type in anything,’ and I was like, ‘That sounds good.’”
He said he went on to have a meeting with the key people for the start-up and believed their proposal looked promising.
“I put some money in and I forgot about it,” he said. “And then the newspaper told me how much I made and I couldn’t believe how much I made.”
While he did not share how the profit of this investment contributed to his $400 million estimated net worth, one can assume that it stands tall as one of the assets in his portfolio, as the businessman has the magic touch when it comes to investing.
The Partnership Touch
Part of that touch is his ability to find good partnerships.
In a recent episode of the “Be Better Off” podcast of Kelly + Partners, he explained his commitment to financial literacy.
He says he stays on it by asking questions and keeping himself informed and educated in business.
“I noticed that every time I’d go to a business meeting that the guys who we’re doing deals with would be like, ‘Hello Shaq, how are you doing?’ And then they would turn away and look at my lawyers and my accountants and all those guys,” Shaq said. “So, I said, ‘Oh, you guys don’t think I’m in charge. You guys don’t think I understand the lingo.’ So, I went and got my master’s [degree] from the University of Phoenix.”
From then on, he was hands-on. So, while he wasn’t completely informed about the Google investment, he works hard to be informed about all the others.
Shaq also holds a doctorate in education from Barry University.