Howard Schultz Rumors
Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal refused to team up with coffee giant Starbucks because “black people don’t drink coffee.” “My agent called me up and he says ‘Howard Schultz wants to do business with you,’” O’Neal told sports reporter Graham Bensinger. “And I’m like, “coffee, eh.’ Because growing up, in my household, I’d never seen a black person drink coffee. So it was my thought process that black people didn’t drink coffee.”
Now, O’Neal regrets the missed chance, which likely cost him millions. “That was one of my worst business decisions,” he said laughing. “Now, every time, on every corner in every city, every country you see a Starbucks, I’m like, ‘Awww.'”
In the years since, Mason has sold his work to notables such as movie star George Clooney, sportscaster Joe Buck, nightlife honcho Rande Gerber and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. His colorful abstract art has been shown at Art Basel in Miami, and the married father of two just sold a painting to Chicago businessman David Gupta for $60,000.
But Bennett’s words were as devoid of truth as much as KeyArena is devoid of Sonics basketball today. The Gasman’s foresight became a reality. After a nasty two-year litigation process, the team announced on July 2nd, 2008 that they would be moving to Oklahoma City. What went wrong? Mike Gastineau strikes the gavel and points the finger right at Schultz. “Howard Schultz was a quitter and that’s what killed this team. He is the beginning, middle, and end of it. He is an incredible titan of industry. He taught the world about $4 for a cup of coffee but he was a terrible basketball owner,” says Gastineau.
That a major station could ignore a third of the professional sports sphere entirely is preposterous from an outsider’s perspective. But it is a testament to the severity of the pain that the move to Oklahoma City caused the city of Seattle. “There’s no doubt there’s a huge hole here. There’s a huge gap here, especially in the wintertime. Once the NFL season ends in January, that’s when the traditional rhythms of thinking about basketball used to start and now it’s gone.” “People say, ‘Oh it’s not that bad’, but really it is like there was a death in the family. When they left, it left a huge hole in the city’s sports heart that might never be fixed,” add Gastineau.
Payton continued his criticism of Schultz, who was criticized heavily in Seattle for selling the Sonics to an owner who had relocation intentions. Schultz sold the Sonics less than six months after announcing they were on the market. “He just messed up our whole [franchise] and people did leave Seattle alone when he owned the team,” said Payton. “That’s why he had to sell it again, because he was struggling. He made a lot of silly moves and the first silly move was getting rid of me.”