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“NBA multi-millionaire Shaquille O’Neal got an F grade in his marketing class”: The four-time champion revealed his marketing teacher told him big guys don’t sell

Arjun Julka

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One of the richest sports personalities in the world, Shaquille O’Neal reveals, getting an F grade in his marketing class.

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has built an empire for himself, extending his wealth from sources beyond sports. The four-time champion excelled in his education, topping his master’s degree with a doctorate. Thus it’s no surprise that Shaq is one of the savviest businessmen in the sporting world.

Big Diesel is a living example of how NBA players can wisely invest money, unlike many cases of players going broke. Shaq made several strides in the business world. Over the years, the Lakers legend has made investments in various sectors, including tech, hospitality, FMCG, and clothing.

O’Neal has a stake in Papa John’s, Five Guys, Lyft, Reebok, Barneys New York, JC Penny, and till most recently, an NBA team (Sacramento Kings) as well. The fifteen-time All-Star has a philanthropic side to him as well, known to make large donations, being part of social initiatives, and giving big tips in restaurants.

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During a recent appearance on The Jordan Harbinger Show, Shaq admitted to getting an F grade in his marketing class and how it helped him become a brand.

Shaquille O’Neal reveals the reason behind getting an F grade in marketing.

Big Diesel is one of the most marketable celebrities in America, present on the packaging of umpteen FMCG products. According to Audacy, with an estimated net worth of $400M, Shaq got an F grade in his marketing class. The Lakers MVP would share the story saying the following.

“When I first came in, I was upset before because I got an F in marketing. The marketing teacher at LSU said, ‘Give me something, product, or something that you can see sold in the future.’ So you know me, I came up with Shaq hats, Shaq shoes, Shaq shirt and he embarrassed me in class. He said, ‘All I see you put a lot of originality in this’ and gave me an F in front of everybody. And I asked him why, he said, “When you look at the nature of marketing and NBA, big guys never sell.”

(17:40 mark)

O’Neal added that he entered the NBA with a mission to build his brand by himself. The former scoring champion stated he wanted creative control over all his commercials, or he wasn’t doing it. Shaq would have his way in the end.

The seven-foot athlete wanted to have a fun element in his commercials, confessing to being inspired by the Spuds Mackenzie advertisement. Shaq would prove his marketing professor wrong by going on to become one of the richest sports personalities in the world.

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We all know who had the last laugh in this case. However, Shaq has always been an advocate of education.

About the author

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka


Arjun Julka is a NBA author at The SportsRush. Basketball isn’t just a sport for this 26-year-old, who hails from Mumbai. He began watching the sport after stumbling upon a court in his society, helping him identify an undiscovered passion for the game of hoops. Now an ardent fan, Arjun supports Stephen Curry and the Warriors but also enjoys watching Giannis Antetokounmpo own the paint. When it comes to the GOAT debate, the TSR author feels LeBron James is yet to receive a lot of his due but cannot deny marveling at Michael Jordan’s resume.

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