mobile app bar

“This Guy Lost $30 Million”: Shaquille O’Neal Confessed Father’s Strong Threats Honed His Business Acumen

Hitesh Nigam

“Had to Borrow Some Money”: 9 Months After Revealing He Gave His Dad a $500,000 Salary, Shaquille O'Neal Reveals Why He 'Put On a Show' During Games

After retiring from the NBA with roughly $292 million in career earnings, Shaquille O’Neal has continuously upped his game, as far as making money is concerned. The Big Diesel currently boasts a net worth of more than $400 million. And a lot of the credit for Shaq’s acute business acumen goes to his father, Sergeant Phillip A. Harrison, as Shaq explained during a recent appearance on the ‘Owned with Rex Chapman’ podcast.

About 12 minutes into the podcast, the co-host of the show started listing out the number of businesses and franchises Shaq owns. This prompted the question, “When did being a businessman, along with an athlete, become so important to you?” The big man simply credited his father for it.

The former Lakers center, while explaining the thought process of his father, brought up his profession, “My father was a sergeant.” Elaborating on this, he further delved into how he would get into trouble anytime someone else lost money, “Whenever somebody did something to get in trouble, I would get in trouble.”

Harrison was also always worried that his son might involve himself in some kind of a Ponzi scheme. As a smart man would do, Shaq’s father made efforts to protect his son by advising him not to repeat the financial blunders that other athletes would make,

“If we sitting here and watching the game and I say ‘this guy lost $30 million’….if a guy lose 30 million, dad would get crazy. He would turn up to me and say if you ever did anything and lose that kind of money, I’mma kill you.”

The constant drilling down of lessons from his father kept him out of trouble and made Shaq immune to any financial mishaps. Going ahead, Shaq also revealed that when he was playing in the league, he used to save up to 50% of the money that he was making. However, he admitted that , “I didn’t know nothing about financial literacy.”

However, things changed when he met an older athlete at a ‘4 Seasons’ restaurant. When he met the ” old man”, Shaq was quick to take a lesson from him on “how do you stay rich?”. The retired athlete took Shaq’s policies one notch higher when he asked the 2000 MVP to save 75% of the money that he makes and do other things from the remaining 25%.

The 4-time NBA champion also credited his success to being a “good listener”. Listening to his father’s advice prevented Shaq from making any stupid financial decisions early on in his career. On the other hand, listening to other financial and business experts later on helped him multiply his wealth.

Shaq has stressed on the power of listening in many interviews and lectures. It was this power of listening and curiosity that allowed the big man to become an early investor in Google. Therefore, the Diesel always advises young athletes to listen to ‘smart people’ before making decisions regarding money.

Shaquille O’Neal has always made his family a part of his achievement

There is no bigger achievement for a son than relieving his parents from all responsibilities. As soon as he made it big in the NBA, the first thing Shaq did was to incorporate the Shaq brand and put both his parents on a payroll.

Expressing his happiness, the 7ft 1″ Center had once commented on the matter, “He [Phillip Harrison] wanted to stay on the Army base. ‘Like nah, come with me.’ [He replied], ‘Nope’ [I asked], ‘How much you make in the Army?’ [He said], ‘I only make $60,000.’ [I told him], ‘Now you making half a million a year.’ [He said], ‘What?’ He started crying.”

Shaq then asked his mother, “‘Mom, how much you wanna make you make?’ [I told her] ‘You make $750,000 a year.” Apart from making his mother financially independent, Shaq even gifted her a brand new car and a home so that she is never out of resources.

It is absolutely heartwarming to see the kind of love that Shaq has for his family. Even today he follows the teachings of his father and assumes the role of his family’s provider.

About the author

Hitesh Nigam

Hitesh Nigam


Hitesh Nigam is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. As a Post-graduate in Journalism and an enthusiastic sports lover, Nigam combines his skills to chunk out informative and interesting content. He found his love in Basketball as a schoolboy after witnessing the greatness of LBJ. As a State-level Basketball player, Nigam is well aware of the on-field intricacies. He is a hardcore LA Lakers fan and loves the playstyle of their SG, Austin Reaves. Apart from NBA, Nigam loves watching and analyzing NFL matches.

Read more from Hitesh Nigam

Share this article