Shaquille O’Neal on Rejecting Nike: ‘I Wasn’t Interested in Being Another Guy on the Shelf’

Published 11/30/2021, 3:30 PM EST
PHOENIX – FEBRUARY 12: Shaquille O’Neal #32 of the Eastern Conference All-Stars cracks a smile against the Western Conference All-Stars during the1995 NBA All-Star Game on February 12, 1995 at the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1995 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal enjoyed a widely successful career in the NBA. NBA fans and analysts often consider him as one of the greatest center of all time. His name also pops up in debates surrounding the ‘GOAT’ title. O’Neal enjoyed various brand endorsements throughout his career, including a shoe deal.

Shaq recently spoke about his snub to Nike, who offered him an endorsement deal. He was speaking to Complex’s Joe La Puma at A Ma Maniere in Atlanta where he revealed details about the debacle. Moreover, Shaq explained how Nike did not offer him the opportunity to have his own shoe line.

O’Neal said, “When I got drafted, they gave me the opportunity to have my own shoe – Reebok. Nike was interested, but they didn’t want me to have my own shoe. Yeah, because I knew at the time that I wasn’t interested in being another guy on the shelf, I wanted to have my own line, my own shoe. I wanted to come out with a bang. You know, my motto was making people remember my name. And instead of proving myself first, I wanted to have my name out there first to improve myself later.

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As a rookie, he was searching for a shoe deal with potential suitors. In contrast to Reebok, Nike was not willing to produce Shaq’s own shoe line. In an infamous incident, he visited Nike’s headquarters wearing Reebok products all over. He eventually signed with Reebok in a $5million a year deal.

Shaq started his NBA career with the Orlando Magic as the 1st overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.

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Shaquille O’Neal destroys Clippers on his birthday with a 61-point performance

Shaquille O’Neal’s spent the best part of his 28th birthday on the basketball court. The Los Angeles Clippers faced the Lakers and a 28-year-old O’Neal on March 6, 2000. Shaq was named the NBA’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ that season which remained his only NBA MVP award.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JUNE 12: Kobe Bryant, Lindsey Hunter and Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate following Game Four of the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets on June 12, 2002 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

O’Neal scored a career-high 61 points for the Los Angeles Lakers against their city rivals, the Clippers. Recording an additional 23 rebounds and three assists showcased O’Neal’s MVP qualities. He led the Lakers to an overshadowing 123-103 victory over the Clippers. Lakers’ history books unquestionably record O’Neal’s performance that day as one of the franchise’s best ever.

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Shalom Saldanha

260 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the 'Greek Freak'.

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