Shaq on investing: 'I don’t ever think about making money'

Four-time NBA Champion, Shaquille O'Neal, is best known for his winning career on the basketball court. But his post-basketball life, as an investor and entrepreneur, has also scored some big wins.

“My first major investment was Google,” O’Neal told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move, adding at the time he didn’t really understand the impact Google (GOOG) would have in the future, but was assured that, “... phones, search engines, finding information...that’s going to work.’”

O’Neal says his investment strategy is simple — if he doesn’t believe in a company he won’t partner with them and he draws inspiration from Amazon’s (AMZN) founder. “I’d just look at what everyone else was doing, Jeff Bezos and a lot of other entrepreneurs and I would just try to follow their style.”

The strategy has worked for O’Neal who has been involved with popular food brands like Five Guys and Papa John’s (PZZA). The basketball legend sits on the board of Papa John’s and owns several franchises. He says he was a fan of the pizza chain since college, and later pitched himself as a board member because he felt it lacked diversity.

Former Los Angeles Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal gestures as he speaks during a ceremony to retire jersey #34 in honor of O'Neal during halftime of the NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles, April 2, 2013. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Other investments for the superstar happened serendipitously — like home security system Ring. “I actually found Ring by accident.” explained O’Neal. He said it happened when it “was my first time not being a spoiled rich brat” and not living in a gated community. When he found himself searching for security systems he was shocked by the quotes he received from private companies ranging from $50,000 to $80,000. That’s when he spotted Ring at Best Buy and bought it and said it worked ‘like a charm’. O’Neal subsequently got in touch with the company and began to work with them, cashing in on his Ring investment when it was purchased by Amazon for $1 billion in 2018.

O’Neal attributes his success in business to researching and doing “due diligence” on companies, cautioning those who are looking to make a quick buck. “Every time I made an investment where I thought I was going to double, triple, quadruple my money I lost every time,” Shaq said, adding, “I don’t ever think about making money. I think about doing the right thing and having fun.”

Yvette Killian is a producer for Yahoo Finance’s On The Move.

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