NBA Rumor: Shaquille O'Neal Business

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Why did you team up with WynnBet? Shaquille O’Neal: Well, I had to divest my ownership in the Kings. I’m a brand partner with the hotel. We believe WynnBET is going to be the next big player in sports betting and igaming space. And I’m all about challenges. I’m all about good business. I’m all about helping people, making people smile and I thought this was a great opportunity to get in this space.

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Shaquille O’Neal put up enough money to reportedly grab a small percentage of the Sacramento Kings when they were last up for sale. Eight years and an exponential increase in the value of every NBA franchise later, O’Neal’s cashed out. Not because he’s fed up with the Kings, who just happen to have the league’s longest postseason drought at 15 seasons and counting. And not because he had a falling out with majority owner Vivek Ranadive. “It was awesome,” says O’Neal. “To just be in that position to have a piece of a team…I was a silent guy, though. I didn’t want to come and stand in the tunnel and tell Vivek “Do this, trade this guy, do that.’ Hopefully that will come in the future.”

Shaquile O’Neal will make his debut as a co-screenwriter and producer on the short “Headnoise,” mounted through his company Jersey Legends Productions. The film examines the internal and external pressure to succeed, as told through childhood friends Rashaun and Damon, two talented basketball players from the same inner-city neighborhood. Both are NBA hopefuls, but Rashaun is the more coveted pick among college recruitment scouts. Secretly, however, Rashaun’s passion is sculpting — and while his journey to follow his dream is plagued with systemic disadvantages, he is determined to be undefeated by his internal head noise.

Shaquille O’Neal is excited for the future of esports and skeptical of cryptocurrency. “I make investments, not for the monetary reasons, but … if it’s going to change people’s lives — and if I see people enjoy doing it,” he told Front Office Sports. With this philosophy, O’Neal has built an investment portfolio that puts estimates for his net worth at around $400 million. O’Neal’s résumé boasts an extensive list of investments and partnerships, including subscription-based fitness platform Beachbody, which went public last week in a $2.9 billion deal.

There is, however, one venture that O’Neal can’t help but talk about: esports. O’Neal walked his children into the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship back in 2013 and left with a piqued curiosity. “One day I had the children and my boys said, ‘Dad, take us to the Staples Center!’” O’Neal recalled. “As soon as I turn the corner, it’s screaming kids, watching some other kids play video games.” “I never even heard of esports. But 60,000 kids jumping up and down, louder than a basketball game, I knew that this right here, it was going to be the future.”

Because of his straightforward investment strategy, O’Neal is wary of investments that can’t be easily explained, like cryptocurrency. “I always get these companies that say, ‘Hey, we’ll give you $900,000 in crypto to send out a tweet.’ So I have to say, ‘OK, if you’re going to give me a million dollars worth of crypto, then why do you need me?’” O’Neal said. “You need me ‘cause once I put the tweet out and then people go to your site, that’s going to bring you $5, 6-7 billion. But how do I know you’re legit? A couple of my friends got caught up in a little scam like that one time.”

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal has become known since retiring from the game for his prolific work as a celebrity pitchman, working in front of the camera to help brands including Papa John’s and Frosted Flakes win customers. In his latest venture, he’ll be working with marketers behind the scenes. Mr. O’Neal is becoming a founding partner and investor in Majority, a new ad agency focused on serving up talent of diverse backgrounds. The agency arrives as Madison Avenue grapples with a history of inequity amid the nation’s renewed call for social justice, large agencies increasingly take measures to diversify their ranks, and some marketers press agencies to increase the diversity of the teams that work on their accounts.

Mr. O’Neal, who is a basketball commentator on WarnerMedia’s TNT network and owns many Papa John’s Pizza and Auntie Anne’s pretzel franchises, will serve as a strategic adviser. He also owns nightclubs in Las Vegas and is active in esports. In the SEC filing, Mr. O’Neal is described as someone who has “a keen eye for investing in successful ventures, having invested in Google prior to its initial public offering and Ring prior to its sale to Amazon.”
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September 18, 2021 | 9:28 pm EDT Update
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You’re here for at least the next five years now that you’ve signed an extension. Do you allow yourself to think – or dream – about what might come over that time span since you’ve talked openly about wanting to win a title in New York? Have you allowed yourself to think about how things might progress? Julius Randle: Obviously, it’s a process. Everything is a process. We’ve been building this from the ground up. But for me, personally, that is the expectation (winning a title in New York). That’s what I want to happen within that time frame. There’s a lot of things, factors that go into that. So obviously you’ve got to weigh that stuff in.
Julius Randle: But as far as myself, I know Thibs (Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau) is thinking (it as well), it’s just win at all costs. For me personally, that’s just how I prepare myself. I prepare myself to compete at the highest level of our game. Like I said, there’s a lot of factors (that go into winning an NBA title). But I trust Leon (Knicks president Leon Rose), I trust Thibs, Wes (Knicks vice president William Wesley), our coaches, Scott (Knicks GM Scott Perry) – all these guys, I trust. That was part of my process in thinking of signing the extension and that’s my goal, that’s our goal as a team and the guys that are around us. We want to be able to say that we won a championship here in New York. I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that.
Did you guys see the video clip of Trae Young at the Garden with WWE? Do you care about that stuff? Julius Randle: Yeah I see it. But honestly, I don’t care. Obviously, that’s (for) entertainment purposes and all that (stuff), so I let people enjoy it. For me, honestly, I don’t care. I honestly didn’t even watch it. Knicks fans, they’re going to make a big deal out of it – they didn’t like it (laughs). But it’s all fun and games and hopefully they enjoyed it.
September 18, 2021 | 12:10 pm EDT Update

Rockets re-sign Dante Exum, waive Tyler Bey

The Rockets have officially re-signed guard Dante Exum and waived Tyler Bey to create a roster space for him, according to the NBA’s transactions log. Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw was the first to report the Bey transaction (Twitter link). With John Wall not expected to play for the team this season as it seeks to trade him, the Rockets were in the market for another point guard. The Rockets’ interest in Exum surfaced on Tuesday.
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