Shaquille O'Neal Made This Mistake That Left Him $60K In Debt; It Forever Changed The Way He Does Business
Photo Credit: Randy Holmes

Shaquille O'Neal Made This Mistake That Left Him $60K In Debt; It Forever Changed The Way He Does Business

Spending $1 million in one day sounds absurd, but it wasn’t a reach for Shaquille O’Neal.

Picture this: It’s 1992, and a young Shaquille O’Neal is signing off on a hefty endorsement check from a trading card company at 20-years-old.

His first order of business: He deposited the check at the bank.

What happens next? Decisions that would ultimately shift how he would approach business going forward.

“It was me being overly happy-slash-irresponsible. My agent called me and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got a million dollars,'” O’Neal told Business Insider.

Purchased luxury cars: Immediately, O’Neal made some major splurges, which included purchasing multiple Mercedes-Benz for himself and his parents.

The price tag:

  • $400,000 for the vehicles

That alone wasn’t enough to satisfy O’Neal. He also convinced himself to purchase expensive jewelry, too.

“In my mind, I’ve got $600,000. So now, I’ve gotta go do what all the homeboys do – gotta buy rings and diamonds and earrings and this and that,” O’Neal explained to Business Insider.

Reality check: O’Neal’s impulsive spending habits were soon humbled when it was time to consider the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), state tax, and income tax.

“I didn’t subtract his 15 percent, right? I didn’t subtract the Texas state tax or the FICA. So, in my mind, I was just trying to do the simple math,” O’Neal shared with Business Insider.

O'Neal Receives A Call From A Bank Manager

He then received a call a few days later from a bank manager to review his statements.

“A couple of days later, the bank manager called me in and he sat me down and he said, ‘I’ve been following you two or three years. Love your career. You’re probably gonna be a fabulous player and make a lot of money. But, you know a lot of you guys, when you’re done playing, don’t have anything. I don’t want you to be like that. I want you to take a look at this,'” O’Neal recounted to Business Insider.

O'Neal On Learning From His Costly Mistake

O’Neal learned he owed between $50,000 to $60,000. From that day forward, O’Neal was committed to never making that same mistake.

So, he made a vow to himself to hire a business manager.

“I was like 50, $60,000 in the hole. So, I was just writing checks. I was buying TVs. I was just buying stuff I didn’t even need. So after that, I said, “You know what? I need to get me a business manager,” O’Neal said, according to Business Insider.

“Luckily, I had a lot of hard lessons early, but I’m the type of guy that – I don’t like to miss two shots in a row, even if it’s a free throw,” he concluded.

O’Neal learned from his rookie mistakes, alright. Today, as AfroTech previously told you, his net worth is estimated to be a whopping $400 million.