For a young Shaquille O’Neal, signing with Nike would have, no doubt, jump-started his career — and it’s an opportunity not many would have passed up. But according to O’Neal himself, he actually sabotaged his own meeting with Nike to sign with another brand instead.
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Here’s the story, where he literally wore a Reebok jacket during a meeting with Nike executives. “Nike, they had like four or five people and it was always my dream to have a signature shoe. So when I went to Reebok, they was going to give me a signature shoe. Because I already had my Shaq emblem. I already had all the commercials. I had everything done in my head on how I wanted to go. So when I went to Reebok, they said they were going to do it,” Shaq said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. But we promised Nike that we would listen to them. So I wore my Reebok jacket to the Nike meeting. So I came back, and I signed with Reebok.”
Apparently, Shaq’s selfless demeanor dates back to early in his career. Recently, the Hall of Famer opened up about the exact moment he decided to turn his back on a multi-million dollar deal with Reebok in order to start his own shoe brand. It wasn’t about making more money for O’Neal, though, as he revealed his true motivation behind the Shaq brand: “I had a Reebok deal, 40 (million) for five (years),” Shaq said in a recent episode of the Full Send Podcast. “And I’m leaving the arena one day and this lady she’s ripping me like, ‘You mutherf—ers charging these babies all this money for the shoes!’”
Shaq then relayed how he literally tried to hand over the $2,000 he had in his pocket to the irate lady as an attempt to appease her. She wasn’t having it, though, and the lady slapped O’Neal’s hand away as she carried on with her tirade against Reebok’s overpriced shoes. “I though about it. I was like, ‘You know what, she’s right.’ So that day, I cut ties with Reebok,” Shaq said. “… I told them I said, ‘Keep the money. This ain’t right. Don’t want to make it no fight. I’ll still wear the shoes and I’ll wear it during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing.’”
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October 25, 2021 | 4:00 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: The Sixers have stopped fining Ben Simmons for missed games and practices given that he is now out for personal reasons, one source close to the situation says, confirming a report this afternoon from @Ramona Shelburne on the NBA Today. More from me: marcstein.substack.com
I had the Hawks at No. 6 in my Power Rankings heading into training camp, which I think was higher than most preseason prognostications. Then I got some grief from a reader saying that I should have had you guys lower because the new rules designed to cut down on free throws awarded to players who initiate contact would affect your game greatly. How are you adjusting so far to the way games are being called?
Trae Young: I think it’s a more an adjustment on both sides, but also just me playing my game. I’ve been in a lot of meetings with [NBA head of referee training and development] Monty [McCutchen], trying to make sure of what’s a foul and what’s not. A lot of the [contract I draw] is a foul. Me going in front and stopping on a dime and defenders continuing to run into me, that’s still a foul. The league is good at that — being open to communicating about anything. Especially if a guy has questions. It’s not just me. I’m sure a lot of other guys have called and just tried to get more clarification on what’s a foul and what’s not.
So you’re not worried about a different sort of whistle this season affecting your game? Trae Young: Nah. I’m not, to be honest with you, even thinking about the refs and the foul calls. I can score without the free throws. But I’m a smaller guy, so a lot of guys like to be physical with me. I like using their aggression to my advantage. That’s really what it is.