Shaquille O’Neal seems to be distancing himself from FTX and the world of crypto.
Involvement With FTX Described As “Fraudulent Scheme”
As AfroTech previously told you, O’Neal was named as a defendant alongside other greats such as Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, and Naomi Osaka in a class action lawsuit.
According to the suit, their endorsement of FTX was a “fraudulent scheme” and was “designed to take advantage of unsophisticated investors from across the country, who utilize mobile apps to make their investments.”
FTX, which was once one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges before it was defunct, is being sued for $11 billion. While it has not been made clear if the celebrities named in the suit will be liable, O’Neal appears to be working to disassociate himself.
“People know I’m very, very honest,” O’Neal said, according to CNBC Make it. “I have nothing to hide. If I was heavily involved, I would be at the forefront saying, ‘Hey.’ But I was just a paid spokesperson.”
At one point, O’Neal didn’t seem to be in favor of the crypto movement. In 2021, he said that he didn’t have a lot of knowledge of the digital asset and felt it was “too good to be true.”
“I don’t understand it, so I will probably stay away from it until I get a full understanding of what it is,” O’Neal told the outlet. “From my experience, it is too good to be true.”
What’s more, CNBC Make It reports that he told Front Office Sports that he declined opportunities to work with “various crypto entities.”
“I always get these companies that say, ‘Hey, we’ll give you $900,000 in crypto to send out a tweet,’” O’Neal shared. “So I have to say, ‘OK, if you’re going to give me a million dollars worth of crypto, then why do you need me?’”
However, based on his actions following the statement, he seemed more hopeful.
As AfroTech previously mentioned, O’Neal created an NFT collection to support the Shaq Foundation. At one point, his Twitter display even changed to “SHAQ.ETH” and “SHAQ.SOL,” according to CNBC Make It.
In addition, his heart posture was shifted to participate in an FTX ad, in which he told viewers he frequently checked his account.
The outlet also reports that O’Neal claims that he only agreed to appear in the ad because of Curry, who was named a co-defendant. At this time, the amount in which O’Neal was paid for the endorsement is unclear.