How Shaq Quadrupled His Net Worth After Retiring from Basketball

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Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Reebok

Most people know Shaquille O’Neal, or “Shaq” as he’s affectionately known, as one of the most well-known basketball players of the past 20 years, but what most people don’t know is that he’s maybe one of the most financially savvy athletes of our generation.

Over the past two decades, Shaq has more than quadrupled his net worth by making some pretty astute investments, which include Google, Apple, Krispy Kreme and Five Guys, to name a few.

So, what makes the four-time NBA champ different from other high-profile athletes? After all, it’s no secret that many athletes often experience some post-career financial struggles—a staggering 60 percent of NBA players have gone broke within five years of leaving the sport. Well, Shaq puts his success down to one simple investment strategy that he learned from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

“I heard Jeff Bezos say one time that he makes his investments based on if it's going to change people's lives, and once I started doing that strategy, I think I probably quadrupled what I'm worth," he recently told The Wall Street Journal.

Invest in What You Believe In

One thing is for sure, Shaq isn’t shy when it comes to investing in what he believes in and what he thinks will make a difference in people’s lives. In addition to his stake in Google, Apple and Krispy Kreme, he also has shares in Papa John’s, Auntie Anne’s and even tracked down Jamie Siminoff, the creator of Ring, the doorbell and security company, and told him that he wanted to invest and become involved in the company. Shaq’s investment in Ring paid off handsomely because Amazon acquired the company in 2018 for $1 billion.

Be in the Right Place at the Right Time

Being a savvy investor and having a talent for picking winners is a large part of why Shaq has seen success in the venture space over the past ten years. He also credits luck as playing a large role in his success. He recalls an instance in the late ‘90s, when he overheard two people in the Beverly Hills Hotel talking about a search engine that would change the way we access information online. Upon intersecting himself into the conversation and learning more, he decided he wanted to invest in the company they were discussing. That company was Google, and needless to say, Shaq has seen some pretty incredible returns from that investment.

When you look at the perfect picture, it looks like I’m at home saying, 'Do this, do that,' It isn’t, it’s just about being in the right place at the right time

- Shaquille O'Neal

Control the Outcome

Venture capital is a risky business. Most of the time, whether you see a return on your investment is completely in the hands of others. However, Shaq tends to flip that narrative. How? By not only investing his money, but truly becoming involved with the brand, often becoming a spokesperson for the business, starring in numerous commercials and using his fame and popularity to bring additional eyeballs to the brand, thus increasing the chances of success. He’s done this multiple times for companies including Ring, Steady and Carnival Cruises.

Be Smart with Your Money

Another aspect that plays a large part in Shaq’s success is his ability to manage money wisely. Throughout his playing career, he accumulated over $300 million. This made him the third highest-paid NBA athlete in history. But, as we’ve seen before, with great riches comes great opportunity to spend those riches, especially if you are in the public eye. 

In a 2017 Business Insider interview, Shaq gave some great advice to up-and-coming athletes who quickly acquire great wealth. “I would take a $100 bill and rip it in half, and I’d say $50, don’t even look at it. Now this other $50, you play with it and do whatever you want, but if you’re really smart, you’ll rip this other $50 up too, and also half that, now there’s $25, now you can really do whatever you want with that,” he said. It’s a simple strategy that shows how Shaq thinks about money and why he has so much capital readily available to invest in businesses that he believes in.

Overall, you could easily say that Shaq is undoubtedly laying out the blueprint for future athletes. Not only is he demonstrating that you can save your money, but you can also multiply it by investing it in projects that you believe in and by leveraging your personal brand to help those businesses grow. Now almost ten years retired from the NBA, he now makes more money each year in endorsements than he did each year playing in the league. Today,  O'Neal has a net worth of more than $400 million.

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