Skip to main content

How Shaq burned $8 million in two days


In 2009, Sports Illustrated estimated that 60% of NBA players are broke within five years after retirement. A lot of time has passed since the study, and probably the percentage isn't as high as it was, but it shows that a lot of players don't know how to handle their earnings.

One of the reasons could be that many players didn't figure out their occupation after they stopped playing basketball. Most NBA players spend the prime years of their lives trying to be the best they can, but they don't seem to realize that they have 40 or more years left to live after they decide to retire. And that was one of the topics that Shaquille O'Neal talked about with Steve O and the Wild Ride! podcast.

"I had a contract worth $100 million, but in real life, it was worth $50 million. So when I first got to LA, I got a check for $20 million. So I go to the Rolls Royce store in some sweatpants. And I asked a guy how much does this car cost, and he said 250 [thousand]. And in my mind, I didn't want to spend 250 for a car, so this guy says to me, 'Can you afford it, sunny?', and I then I bought three cars right there which were a million dollars. And then I'm riding through Beverley Hills, and I see a beautiful house in the mountains which was seven million, and I bought the house. I've spent eight million in two days. So then my guy calls me and says to me that I've spent my whole check. I've said to him that I'm getting 20 million, and he says no; in California, 20 million is 10.5. So after that, I really had to slow down"

Shaquille O'Neal, Steve O and the Wild Ride! podcast

One other thing that leads to players going broke is they aren't accustomed to taking good care of their money. With todays' paychecks being thrown at them, they don't see the point in doing that. Money becomes just a number on a piece of paper. That way, players like Allen Iverson file for bankruptcy.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"A lot of times we get these big numbers, and we focus on that big numbers, but we don't focus on reality – tax, family, employees, spending and wasting. It's really easy to go broke. So some guys are smart, and some aren't."

Shaquille O'Neal, Steve O and the Wild Ride! podcast

According to Shaq, he didn't save much money in his first few years in the NBA, but he became smarter with his money after that.

"Firstly, I wanted to financially secure my family. But after that, when you get the extra money, you invest, and you have to invest in the right thing. I put a lot of money in blue-chip companies like Apple or GE, and you try to invest in the right business."

Shaquille O'Neal, Steve O and the Wild Ride! podcast

We have great examples in the modern NBA. For instance, Jayson Tatum only spends money he earns from sponsorships. All his NBA money goes into a bank account. The league gives young players seminars and brings in NBA veterans who share their stories that help them learn from other people's mistakes. 

Still, $8 million in two days was a lot, even in the 90s. Gotta love Shaq.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Remember when KCP played with an ankle monitor?

In terms of serving time, continuing to play games while in prison is not that bad.


Jason Williams shares who is the GOAT between Michael Jordan and LeBron James

The "White Chocolate" thinks one guy is the GOAT, while the other one would be his pick if he has a must-win game.


“As trophies are concerned, that was the highlight of my career.” — the heartwarming story behind Bill Russell's favorite trophy

The NBA will retire the No. 6 league-wide honoring Bill Russell. The story of his favorite trophy makes it clear why he's the first person ever to receive that honor.

Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas and Utah Jazz center Karl Malone

Isiah Thomas on why Karl Malone was the "weak link" of the Utah Jazz

Isiah Thomas was referring to a particular instance when Karl Malone displayed his weakness at the free throw line.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

“I’m too old for that, man” — when Kobe Bryant gave up on defense during the twilight years of his career

Kobe Bryant once told fans sitting courtside in Madison Square Garden that he just wanted to chill because he was too old to get back on defense.

Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O'Nea

“I wish I was playing with these buttercups right now. It’ll be a slaughterhouse out there" —Shaquille O'Neal sounds off on today's NBA

According to Shaq, there's an apparent disparity in talent between the past generation and this current one


Rob Pelinka’s big promise to LeBron James as contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers nears

The Lakers have been a bit trepid about making big roster moves recently, but they appear to have said what they needed to say to keep James in L.A.