As portended during his Complex interview in August, Shaquille O'Neal has officially sold his stake in Sacramento Kings. The Hall of Famer is leaving the organization eight years after becoming its partial owner.
"Till we meet again"
49-year-old O'Neal, the same guy who once called the team from Sacramento, “The Queens,” while with the Lakers, announced the sale on Twitter, explaining two sides were forced to part ways due to his partnership with WynnBET. "As a result of a new business endeavor, I was required by NBA rules to sell my interest in the Sacramento Kings," Shaq tweeted. "I want to thank the fans, the city of Sacramento, Vivek Ranadive and the entire Kings organization for our great partnership. I loved being an owner of such a forward thinking organization and I hope to be back someday."
According to Bloomberg, O’Neal will feature in the company's advertising, attend in-person fan events and offer his advice on its offerings. He will appear on the WynnBET-sponsored podcast, interacting as a guest with company media partners. NBA legend will also launch 'ShaqPot,' a Free To Play game stored inside the WynnBET app.
"We believe WynnBet is going to be the next big player in sports betting and iGaming space. And I'm all about challenges," Shaq said during his Complex interview. "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."
Shaq's business empire
The growth of the sports betting market exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic ones, while dramatically altering the dynamic between sports leagues and the industry itself. As such, many former athletes are partnering with betting-related companies, trying to add to their business portfolios. That's where O'Neal remains the yardstick of success.
According to Investopedia, Shaq has endorsed more than 50 company’s product and services, including the likes of VitaminWater, Burger King, Kraft Foods, Pepsi, Comcast, Radio Shack, and Taco Bell, just to name a few. No matter the streaming service, the Hall of Famer is likely to turn up touting Papa John’s Pizza, The General car insurance, Carnival Cruises, and Icy Hot pain relief pads.
At Papa John’s, O'Neal is co-owner of nine franchises and sits on the troubled pizza chain’s board of directors. He also has many other equity stakes in businesses. They report that his private business ventures include ownership, with partners, of 155 Five Guys Burgers restaurants, a car wash chain, fitness centers, three Las Vegas nightclubs, and several Auntie Anne’s pretzel stands. Shaq is Carnival’s Chief Financial Officer, while also serving as the brand’s biggest ambassador.
NBA salaries and business ventures combined, Shaq has reportedly made around $700 million. He has made one of the smoothest transitions from being an NBA superstar to becoming a business mogul and is widely recognized as one of the best entrepreneurial athletes in the world. That's why his latest endeavor, despite costing him Kings' minority ownership, will be another dead cert in what is already an unmatched business empire by a former athlete.