‘This Ain’t Right’: Shaquille O’Neal Reveals Why He Rejected $40 Million Sneaker Deal with Reebok

Through lucrative partnerships, apparel, and endorsement deals with notable companies like The General and Papa John’s, former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal has managed to build himself an estimated $400 million net worth.

Earlier this month, the Hall of Famer garnered yet another contract, this time to become the brand ambassador for the mobile sports betting app WynnBET. Now, it may appear as though the 49-year-old is willing to work with just about any brand, just as long as the check clears, but that isn’t quite the case. 

Shaquille O’Neal attends Imagine Dragons’ sixth annual Tyler Robinson Foundation Gala at Wynn Las Vegas on September 06, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Tyler Robinson Foundation)

During an appearance on the “Full Send” podcast this week, Shaq revealed he once walked away from a $40 million deal with athletic giant Reebok. Shaq played in Reeboks on-court for his entire career, with his two most recognizable shoes being the Shaq Attaq and the Shaqnosis. However, the four-time NBA championship winner revealed that a woman criticized him for selling his signature kicks at a relatively unfeasible price for many young fans. Shaq claims he tried to explain to the woman that he had no say in how much they retailed for and even offered to give the woman some money, but she refused. 

“That day, I cut ties with Reebok,” Shaq revealed. Following what appeared to be a moral readjustment, the former ballplayer told the brand, “Keep the money … this ain’t right.” He continued, “I’ll still wear the shoes I do during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing.”

The former Los Angeles Lakers star ultimately launched his own brand of sneakers and enlisted his “favorite store” to sell them for him: Walmart. “I was in all stores, and my price point for the shoes was $29 to $19, and since then, we sold over 400 million pairs.” He added that he also brought on designers from Reebok to join him in the new Walmart deal. “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,” he noted. 

Earlier this month, the TNT NBA analyst moved a step closer to owning Reebok after he and his partners over at Authentic Brands Group (ABG), for about $2.5 billion in a deal expected to close next year.

Check out the full interview below and Shaq’s Reebok discussion around the 41-minute mark.

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