Shaquille O’Neal wants to ensure his legacy will live on beyond his years.

The Business Deal That Changed Everything

In 2015, O’Neal made an official move toward solidifying that when he secured a deal with Authentic Brands Group (ABG).

As AFROTECH previously reported, ABG acquired the rights to manage the former Los Angeles Laker’s name in merchandise and endorsements.

From that point on, O’Neal was in business with the company that also has the rights to names like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jackson.

What’s more, he is now its second largest shareholder, and the deal provides an opportunity to create wealth for generations to come.

“My Authentic Brands deal, I was able to ensure that hopefully I can stay around after I’m no longer on this earth,” O’Neal explained to AFROTECH. “And I was walking down the street one day and looking at these Elvis cups and Elvis key chains and Marilyn Monroe, and I said to myself, ‘How are these people still making money for their families?’ They’re not even around. So, I found out how that business works, and I contacted two or three of those agencies and asked them if they were interested in partnering with Authentic Brands, and we’ve been doing major things.”

He added, “I’m now the second largest shareholder in Authentic Brands Group, and last year our purchase was Reebok and Ted Baker and a couple other brands. So, we’re doing pretty well. I just always wanted to have the opportunity to live forever like fame.”

From Athlete To Businessman

O’Neal is no stranger to making the right moves. Since retiring from the league in 2011, he has mastered the art of the pivot.

As previously reported by AFROTECH, he was named Reebok’s president of basketball, which comes 25 years after O’Neal exited Reebok.

In 1992, he signed with the company sporting shoes such as the Shaq Attaq and Shaqnosis. He later walked away from $40 million when he said his goodbye in 1998.

Now, in his new role, the basketball legend will have a new opportunity to reach a new generation of athletes who share his love and passion for the game. He will be responsible for cultivating partnerships with athletes and organizations as well as steering Reebok’s basketball category strategy.

“Stay true to your core beliefs. I try not to base everything on a monetary value,” he explained. “I get a lot of deals. ‘Wear the shirt, put your name on it, we’ll sell it.’ I like investing in things that’s going to change people’s lives. I heard Jeff Bezos say that once, and that’s how he invests. So, I follow the strategy, and it’s been working very well for me.”

Pepsi Partnership

O’Neal adopts a similar mindset when approaching partnerships. With that said, he has reunited with Pepsi for a new collaboration putting a new twist on Skee-Lo’s 1995 Hip-Hop classic — “I Wish.”

“30 years ago we did a commercial called ‘Big Slam.’ And in that commercial I was talking about how hard it was to be big as the Big Diesel,” he explained. “Now 30 years later, we get to revisit that original concept and kind of flip it on its head with the Pepsi mini can. They came to me with the song, ‘I Wish I was a little bit taller.’ So, we kind of created a fun parody of a classic song. This is Pepsi’s 125th anniversary. So, we want to do new things.”

O’Neal also adds that pairing up with Pepsi just made perfect sense.

Courtesy of Pepsi

“[One], I have to like the product. [Two], I have to be familiar with the product. And three, I have to believe in the product,” he said. “I grew up on Pepsi. My mother loved Pepsi. I even tried the Pepsi and milk combination one day and we just loved Pepsi. So when I was being recruited by Pepsi and other brands, I was like, ‘You know what, this would definitely make my mother smile.’ ‘Cause I’m familiar with the brand, my whole family likes it, might as well go with Pepsi.”

He continued, “I’m an old school businessman. You can’t take my money if I don’t like the product, and then I can’t sell it to the people. I think that’s very irresponsible for some people. And I could just never do that.”