Cover Image for Shaquille O’Neal turned down a $40 million Reebok deal after a mother complained about costly shoes

Shaquille O’Neal turned down a $40 million Reebok deal after a mother complained about costly shoes

Advait Jajodia
|Tue Aug 16 2022

Back in 1998, then-Magic star Shaquille O’Neal offered a mother $2,000 after she complained about costly shoes.

Shaquille O’Neal is a generational talent that the league was blessed to have witnessed. For nearly two decades long, O’Neal used his massive 7-foot, 325-pound stature to extremely great use and dominated the paint as we’ve never seen anyone do before or ever since.

Being one of the most gifted big men the game has ever seen, Shaq has managed to rack up a pretty illustrious resume. The Lakers legend’s astonishingly long list of achievements includes – 15 All-Star appearances, 14 All-NBA selections, the 1993 ROY, the 2000 MVP, 4 championships, and 3 Finals MVPs.

During his playing days, “The Big Aristotle” managed to earn more than $286 million. Today, the Hall-Of-Famer has a staggering net worth of more than $400 million. Despite the smart businessman he is, The Diesel doesn’t always have money as his priority.

Also Read: 18 y/o Kobe Bryant tried to dupe Shaquille O’Neal with rehearsed raps on Lakers bus rides

This one time, O’Neal turned down a lucrative $40 million deal with Reebok after he heard a mother complain about expensive shoes.

Shaquille O’Neal started his own shoe brand

A year back, during an appearance on the Full Send Podcast, the former 2-time scoring title winner recollected a memorable interaction he had with a mother from back in 1998. Leaving the Orlando Magic arena, she was complaining to Shaq about high shoe prices.

Feeling guilty, the then-Magic youngster offered the lady all the money he had in his wallet.

“I’m leaving the arena one day and this lady is ripping me a new one,” O’Neal said on the Full Send Podcast. “‘You m————, you’re charging these babies all this money for the shoes.’ I had like $2,000 in my pocket and I was like, ‘Ma’am. I don’t make the prices. Here you go.’”

From that day, Shaq ended up cutting ties with Reebok and collaborated with Walmart to create his own shoes and sell them between the $15-$30 range.

“I thought about it,” O’Neal said. “I was like, ‘You know what? She’s right.’ So that day I cut ties with Reebok and started my own brand.”

“I said, ‘Keep the money. This ain’t right. … I’ll still wear the shoes that I wear during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing. … The money you owe me, keep it.’ So, I started the Shaq brand, and I went to my favorite store, Walmart, and we did a deal. I was in all stores and my price point for the shoes were $29-$19, and since then we sold over 400 million pairs. It’s not that kids don’t want to wear $20 shoes. They don’t want to wear shoes that look like they cost $20.”

With this decision, Shaq proved that not everything is about money.

Also Read: 5th grader Shaquille O’Neal witnessed a life-changing phenomenon that changed him from a bully to class clown

About the author
Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia

Being a two-time national-level basketball player, NBA surely had my attention from a very young age. At age 20 now, I aspire to share the knowledge I gained over 11 years with fellow basketball-lovers through my articles!

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