Shaq pitches his brand, business side on HBO’s Real Sports


Shaquille O’Neal has more endorsements and is on your television more now than when he was playing.

The Hall of Fame big man hawks everything from Gold Bond Powder to cruises, and he’s all over your television. It’s going to get worse during the playoffs.

Shaq and his “fun” business empire will be profiled by Bernard Goldberg on HBO’s Real Sports this week (it first airs March 27 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, then will reshow and stream across all their channels and platforms), that includes lessons learned back at LSU:

“My marketing professor said, ‘Okay, class, bring me something that you could see being sold in the foreseeable future.’ So, you know me, Bernie. I came in with the Shaq shoes, Shaq socks, Shaq shirt, Shaq everything. And the guy gave me an F. He actually embarrassed me in front of the class. He said, ‘Shaq, I know you’re full of yourself and I see you put a lot of time into this, but if you look at the climate of the NBA, big guys are not selling. This’ll never work.’”

Shaq says he makes more now from advertising sponsorships than he did at his peak playing, which for the record was $27,696,430 in 2004-05 with the Heat.

Shaq’s business model, outside of just having fun, is to pitch things that you or I would want or like — items for America’s middle class. He’s not trying to sell you a Rolex.

Goldberg: “A lot of the stuff you pitch is aimed at middle-class Americans. There’s a reason for that.”
Shaq: “Because the great Lucille O’Neal, which is my mother, said, ‘There’s more middle class than there is spoiled rich brats like you, Shaq.’”
Goldberg: “Did she say that?”
Shaq: “Just like that. And then she said, ‘Don’t forget, we used to be like that.’”

Check it out, even if it means more Shaq on your TV. It’s a fascinating insight.