Shaquille O’Neal endorses Papa John’s and more
Basketball fans know Shaq from his championships with the Lakers and Heat, but there’s probably a few who remember him better as ‘that IcyHot guy.’
Your grandma might know him as ‘the big man on all those Gold Bond commercials.’
Heck, your neighborhood politico might even remember him as “that dude who endorsed Chris Christie in 2013.”
Chances are, you’ve seen retired NBA all-star and center Shaquille O’Neal on television endorsing one of over 50 brands, according to Sports Illustrated, whether that include dipping Oreos in a cold glass of milk or dunking on some middle schoolers as he hawks Burger King’s “Shaq Pack.”
Shaq pocketed almost $28 million during 2004, his best-paying year in basketball according to Spotrac, a website that tracks professional athletes’ salaries. Post-NBA, however, the hall-of-famer’s endorsement deals and investments have built the brunt of his net worth, estimated at $400 million by Forbes in 2016.
Most recently, the seven-foot-1 investor landed $4.125 million through a Papa John’s deal that included a spot on the company’s board of directors, over 87,000 shares of stock and — of course — his face on the brand. With stocks, the agreement is worth over $8.5 million.
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In 1992, Shaq signed a multi-year deal with Reebok as a spokesman and now hopes to buy the company and bring the shoes “back to basketball and to fitness,” as he told CNBC on Tuesday.
Other business ventures have included part-ownership of 155 Five Guys Burger joints, a chain of carwashes, several fitness centers, three Las Vegas nightclubs and a number of Auntie Anne’s pretzel stands.
Here’s a lists Shaq-endorsed products that you might have forgotten about:
In 2013, the AriZona Beverage Company partnered with Shaq on a line of cream sodas, appropriately named “Soda Shaq”. The 23-fluid-ounce cans came in four cream soda flavors — strawberry, blueberry, orange and vanilla.
While discontinued a few years ago, there are still a few collector’s cans left on eBay you can score for about eight dollars.
Mr. Big Candy Bars
Shaq’s 1995 Cadbury endorsement helped launch the company’s largest candy bar named the ‘Mr. Big’ with the tagline “so big they call him Mister.”
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The chocolate-coated bar contains layers of vanilla wafers, caramel, rice crisps and peanuts. The bar is twice the length of two standard bars, measuring about 8 inches long. The Mr. Big is available in certain parts of the U.S., but is primarily sold in Canada, according to Amazon.
In 1994, Shaq’s avatar became the main character in a 2D fighting game for Super Nintendo and the Sega Mega Drive.
While originally pitched to Electronic Arts as a basketball game, Shaq thought the game should take a different direction. In the storyline, O’Neal’s character walks into a dojo before heading to a charity basketball game in Tokyo. After speaking with the martial arts master, he goes to the “Second World” where he must rescue a young boy from an evil mummy.
A second version, Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn, hit stores in 2018.