After Ditching $2,000,000,000 Team for Gambling Interest, Shaquille O’Neal Forced to Walk Back on His Past Criticism

Published 03/10/2023, 11:25 AM EST

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Shaquille O’Neal has had a love-hate relationship with the Sacramento Kings. When Shaq was dominating the league with the Los Angeles Lakers, his team had a fearsome rivalry with the Sacramento side. Adding spice to the rivalry, the big man had once bashed the Kings by calling them the ‘Sacramento Queens‘. However, when it came to business, Shaq kept his personal rivalry aside and bought a stake in the Western Conference side in 2013, two years after his retirement. But when he found out about another enticing enterprise, Shaq sold his stake in the franchise and pursued a newfound interest that had gambling shaping the core of it.

Meanwhile, Shaq has had to walk back on his past criticism of the resurgent Sacramento Kings side amid jibes from his colleagues. The underrated team is currently in second place in the Western Conference table with a record of 39-26.

Shaq’s colleagues did not keep calm and threw snappy wisecracks into the mix


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Shaquille O’Neal became the brand ambassador of an online sports gambling site named in 2021. Being the brand ambassador, the big man had to appear in commercials for wynnbet. However, according to NBA rules, this endeavor would not have been possible if Shaq held on to his stake in the Kings, which is why he decided to sell his share in the organization.

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Though the Kings were performing terribly in those days, they have now established themselves as a Western Conference powerhouse, forcing Shaq to rethink his past ridicules and his decision to sell his stake in the team. Moreover, the Big Diesel has also had to eat his own words amid sharp digs from his banter rival Charles Barkley and the rest of the NBA on TNT crew.

It has been 16 years since the Sacramento Kings made it to the NBA playoffs. During the entire course of Big Aristotle’s stint as a partial owner, the Sacramento side failed to reach the playoffs. However, the Kings are contradicting their dark past with sublime displays this season. With their latest triumph against the New York Knicks, a playoff spot looks like a walk in the park for Sacramento.

They got a good thing going, Congratulations to the veteran organization,” Shaq said during the live studio breakdown of the Kings’ recent win. Meanwhile, Charles Barkley saw a golden opportunity to roast Shaq at this point.

As everyone praised the Sacramento side for their dominant display, NBA legend Charles Barkley reminded the hosts of Shaq’s time with the Kings. Chuck said Since Shaq owned the team, he was holding them back. He sold it for a fortune, and now look at them!”

Will the Kings achieve more glory?

There is no doubt that the Kings are having their best season in years. However, the side is very young and inexperienced. No one in their team other than their head coach has had prior playoff experience. The NBA world will be looking forward to seeing the Kings keep up their spectacular work.


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It is quite coincidental and interesting to note that the Sacramento side has broken free from their playoff curse after Shaq sold his stake. Back then, things were so horrible for the Kings that Shaq might have felt the gambling enterprise was a safer haven. However, if the Sacramento Kings head to the playoffs and achieve bigger glories, the big man is likely to regret the move he made.

WATCH THIS STORY: How much did Shaquille O’Neal weigh at birth


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Krishna Prasad M

60 articles

Krishna Prasad is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has a Master's degree in English and a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism. A trained reporter, Krishna's intense passion for sportswriting prompted him to become an NBA journalist.

Edited By: Satagni Sikder