Shaquille O’Neal reveals that he got Nike and Reebok to enter a bidding war to drive his own sponsorship fee up.
O’Neal has been one of the NBA’s best-marketed, most well-loved players of all time. He played in the league for 19 years and is now in his 11th year as a sportscaster for TNT. What marks him out beside the other great big men is his extremely approachable manner.
Shaq has always been personable and, despite his meltdowns on TNT, is actually a very humble guy. He has a whole personality that is unique to him, built around his size and his dominance on the court. A big goofball who dunked on hapless centers for fun, who didn’t want that!
Naturally, the endorsements have lined up for the 7’1″ big man over the past 30 years or so. He’s had his own signature shoe line with 2 different retailers, but it’s always his Reebok deal that will be memorable. Those were the shoes he wore during his triple Finals MVP run, after all.
Shaquille O’Neal reveals his thought process behind signing with Reebok over Nike
Shaquille O’Neal was recently spotted Sneaker Shopping with Joe La Pluma from Complex Magazine. The Lakers legend spends a lot of time in Atlanta, where TNT’s studio is based. The joint they visited to shop for Shaq’s sneakers is called A Ma Maniere.
Shaq began the interview by telling viewers about his bad experience with Jordans in middle school. The conversation then moved on to how he got his first shoe deal as a rookie in 1992.
Reebok and Nike were the two companies that were mainly in public consideration for the big man’s signature. But privately, Shaq always knew he was going to sign with the former. The prospect that swayed him, O’Neal says, was that of having his own unique signature shoe:
“When I got to college, we had a deal with LA Gear. When I got drafted, they gave me the opportunity to have my own shoe – Reebok. Nike was interested, but they didn’t want me to have my own shoe.”
La Pluma then teased viewers with a story about O’Neal visiting the Nike headquarters dressed in Reebok gear. We’ll bring that story to you in a short while!