Shaquille O'Neal got the inspiration from the movie Scarface to always keep his friends close to him, helping them with their businesses and, therefore, growing his empire.
Building a business empire
When it comes to athletes in general, Shaquille O'Neal leaves the impression as one of the most generous ones out there. Every now or then, various stories pop-up about him helping out someone or randomly buying people gifts if they end up in the same store together. Shaq had a tremendous NBA career, and even after that, he was able to increase his wealth by making sound and intelligent decisions on how to spend and invest his money.
When you become an NBA player of the same magnitude as Shaq, that means your life changes dramatically but also the lives of your family and close friends. Like many others before him, Shaq decided to help his family and friends, but he did it differently and incentivized them to work and start a business that he helped finance and grow.
In his book "Shaq Talks Back", Shaq explains his process of helping out his close friends after he became a millionaire and one of the most famous NBA players. Naturally, some friends and family are using the situation to exploit the players, and we've heard several stories where relationships and friendships go down the drain because of that specific reason. Luckily for Shaq, his friends were ambitious, and having someone like Shaq as a friend willing to help can dramatically improve your chances of leading a great life.
"Now, I admit, I have let some of my guys use me, somewhat, to get where they want to go in life. I've told them, "When it's all over, it's gonna be all over. You all are going to make a lot of money. You're going to know some of the people I know and have great opportunities in life." If they want to start up a business, I might help them. But by the time I retire, they should all be set in a lot of ways. I don't consider anyone in my crew hangers-on, people who just take things from you. There was an article in Sports Illustrated once that kind of made fun of them, calling them "The Men of Unclear Purpose." It made it look like these cats were riding around with me, doing nothing with their lives."
Scarface movie as inspiration
Shaq always wanted to build a business empire, and the main ingredient for success is surrounding yourself with people that you can first and foremost trust. Interestingly enough, Shaq said all the friends in his close crew have matching tattoos to prove loyalty and showcase they are all working for the same goal. He got that idea from watching the famous movie Scarface back when he was still in college.
"You can't have people jeopardizing your empire. My crew would never do that. Most of them have a tattoo with the initials "T.W.I.S.M" on it. It's almost like a fraternity thing. It stands for "The World Is Mine." This is going to sound kind of silly, but I got the idea after watching Scarface in college. Tony Montana, the character played by Al Pacino, had that great, big globe of the world. On it was the message: "The world is ours."
Now, several years after his NBA career was over, Shaq is making more money from his business ventures than he ever did from the salary he made in the league. Shaq put his friends in charge of some of the business he helped finance, and it's paying off big time for him and them as well. He learned about the best business practices while still being in the league and was able to implement them in real life when investing in various industries. More importantly, he learned it's essential to keep the people you trust close and take them all the way, which in Shaq's case was one of the best decisions he made because he helped his friends and grew his business empire along the way.