Paid a Staggering Amount of $17.4 Million in 4 Years, Shaquille O’Neal Has Two Big Desires That Involve Florida-Based NBA Team

Published 11/20/2023, 11:41 PM EST

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He’s accomplished a lot but one thing that Shaquille O’Neal has not checked off his to-do list is owning an NBA team. He’s had a minority stake in the past, but he holds the dream of being a majority owner. Lately, he’s been on a campaign to bring the first NBA team to Las Vegas, a city he has multiple businesses in. However, in the past, he’s hinted at wanting an ownership stake in an existing NBA team that started it all.

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This same team has an interesting history that sets it apart from the rest of the league. Other than the fact that they boast the most dominant rookie signing in the history of the franchise.

Shaquille O’Neal wants an ownership stake in his former team

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In 1992, Orlando Magic selected LSU standout, Shaquille O’Neal first overall in the draft. Magic Johnson’s protégé would be named Player of the Week in his first week in the league. The 1993 Rookie of the Year would change the team’s fortunes from the moment he broke the backboard on April 23, 1993. From that moment, everyone wanted to watch the fledgling team.

He led them close to a championship, though they lost to the Houston Rockets in 1995. In four seasons and a total of 295 games in the pinstriped uniform, O’Neal’s total salary at Magic was estimated at $17.4 million.

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Shaq would go on to earn bigger paychecks, win four titles with the Lakers and Heat and play for other teams. But his first team still remains special to him. In 2022, he expressed his desire to go back to Magic in a different role.

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O’Neal was asked if he would consider switching to a coaching position in the NBA. The multi-hyphenate said that’s not a hat he wishes to wear. “I have an old school mentality,” he said. “I’m looking to be an owner.

Recently, O’Neal has been expressive about bringing the first NBA development team to Las Vegas as a majority owner. But he’s wanted to have an executive role in his first team. “I’m interested in a certain team in Florida…I don’t know that[if it’s for sale or not], but if it is, I want to be that guy.”

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He didn’t outrightly name the team. He’s played for both of Florida’s NBA teams but confirmed he didn’t mean the Miami Heat. So it could only mean Magic. Shaq maintained a permanent residency in Orlando for many years, with a recording studio in his mansion for his side rap career.

Shortly before signing Shaq, the DeVos family took ownership of Magic in 1991. They’ve never expressed any interest in selling the team. Instead, O’Neal invested in a minority stake in the Sacramento Kings in 2013. He sold the stake after eight years in 2022 but still hopes to have a bigger presence in a franchise one day.

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Shaq dreams of exclusive honor

O’Neal revealed how much Magic is dear to him once more in his latest interview. When asked if Orlando Magic should break from its tradition to retire his No. 32 jersey, he admitted he’d love that honor. “I’d like to be the first if they ever decide to do that. I would definitely like to be the first,” he told Yahoo.

Orlando has not retired any number of its greatest stars. The team retired the No. 6, in honor of their Sixth Man aka the team’s diehard fans. The reason has never been stated but fans speculate the first honor is reserved for the player who leads the team to its first chip. They founded the Magic Hall of Fame in 2014. The following year, Shaq became one of its first inductees.

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O’Neal can’t win the team a championship as a player anymore. But maybe one day, he could have a championship as a team owner. What do you think about his aspirations?

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Written by:

Caroline John

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I was 7 when I saw 'Space Jam' but didn't know till the third rewatch the lead actor is actually a living basketball legend. It was while studying journalism that my friend would go on about the Warriors from Golden State. Keen on athletes' personas outside their arenas, it was Stephen Curry's confidence and philanthropy that drew me to follow the news on NBA pros and explore sports media.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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