In Business, Shaq Follows the Path of Another Lakers Great

(Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal recently went on the CNBC airwaves to promote the “Shaquille O’Neal Collection”—a new menswear line for affordable suits in men’s big and tall sizes at Macy’s—his latest for-profit business foray.

The fashion line is another piece to add to O’Neal’s investment portfolio, which includes ownership stakes in Muscle Milk, Vitamin Water, social media start-up Tout, 55 Five Guys restaurant franchises and other small businesses. O’Neal is also a paid brand ambassador for Dove Men, Gold Bond, and Icy Hot to name a few of his many sponsorship deals. estimates his net worth at $350 million.

Business Mentor

O’Neal attributes his business success to Magic Johnson, who served as a financial mentor to him while he was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. O’Neal recalls Magic telling him “it’s okay to be famous, but you want to be start owning things.”

Magic’s message was simple: being paid a large salary is nice, but coveted financial success would await as a business owner and investor.

O’Neal cites his ownership of 24 Hour Fitness franchises and becoming an early, pre-IPO investor in Google as the first steps he took as a businessman after heeding Johnson’s advice.

Magic Johnson’s Investments

O’Neal could not have picked a better athlete-turned-businessman than Magic Johnson. His holding company Magic Johnson Enterprises has owned or still owns AMC Movie Theaters (aptly named AMC Magic Johnson Theaters), 31 Burger King restaurants, 13 24-Hour Fitness franchises, TGI Fridays, 105 Starbucks stores, you name it.

Magic also famously owned a near 5 percent stake in the Lakers before selling it to billionaire health care executive and longtime season ticket holder Patrick Soon-Shiong. Soon after, Magic became part of the successful Guggenheim investment group that won the rights to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers from embattled owner Frank McCourt in 2012.

Most recently, he purchased the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks with Dodgers’ chairman Mark Walter and Dodgers President Stan Kasten among others, in order to save the franchise from re-location.

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