Despite now having a reported net worth of over $400 million, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal says he used to be terrible with money. But he says, he got some good money advice early on from his mentor and former Lakers star Magic Johnson.
When O’Neal was starting out, “I didn’t have the intelligence” around money, O’Neal told told entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” star Daymond John at a Black Entrepreneurs Day event on Saturday.
In fact, Shaq said he blew through his first million-dollar paycheck in an hour, buying matching Mercedes-Benzes for him and his dad and expensive jewelry. “I had a million, but I wasn’t netting a million. I had no knowledge about FICA, state tax and income tax,” O’Neal told John.
Even after O’Neal signed a $40 million contract with the Orlando Magic in 1992, he still didn’t have financial or business acumen. O’Neal, 48, told John that is wasn’t until he signed with Los Angeles Lakers in 1996 that he got the best money advice ever from Magic Johnson.
“When I first got to L.A., [Johnson] said ’Shaq, it’s okay to be famous and all that but at some point, you want to start owning things,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal listened to the advice. Since retiring from the NBA in 2011, O’Neal has said that he is making more money each year through his various investments and endorsements deals than he made playing basketball. O’Neal’s business empire now includes restaurant franchises, fitness gyms, car washes, his own line of branded products and partnerships with Papa John’s and Carnival Cruise Line to name a few.
Still, in business you have to constantly keep learning, according to O’Neal told. “I’m still learning now. I watch ‘Shark Tank’ and I learn from you guys. I love to ask questions,” O’Neal told John.
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”
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