Shaquille O’Neal Once Made a Shocking Admission: “My Biggest Mistake Was Not Investing in Starbucks. I Had the Opportunity Before Magic Johnson but I Told Howard Schultz That Black People Don’t Drink Coffee Because I Never Seen Anyone in My Family Drink Coffee.”

Published 12/15/2021, 8:30 AM EST


Shaquille O’Neal has enjoyed a wildly successful life on the basketball court. Los Angeles Lakers fans still remain grateful to O’Neal for the period of success that he brought to the franchise. His life off the court has also been a breeze due to his earnings from the NBA and various brand endorsement deals. Apart from all this, O’Neal once revealed that he once made a shocking business decision off the court.

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In an interview with ‘CNBC Make It’, O’Neal revealed details of his investing mistake. O’Neal reveals that he had a chance to invest in Starbucks, which is a multinational chain of coffeehouses. He disclosed that Magic Johnson jumped on the opportunity and invested in the company before O’Neal could.

O’Neal said, “My biggest mistake was not investing in Starbucks. I had the opportunity before Magic Johnson. But I told Howard Schultz that black people don’t drink coffee because I never seen anyone in my family drink coffee.” 

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NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Former professional basketball player/author Shaquille O’Neal speaks on stage during LIVE from the NYPL: Shaquille O’Neal held at the New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwartzman Building on October 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images)

Magic Johnson retired from the NBA in 1991, just a year prior to the Orlando Magic drafting O’Neal in 1992. The former started a partnership with Starbucks in 1998. He sold his 12-year partnership with the coffee chain back to Starbucks in 2010. In a scenario that O’Neal definitely regrets, the 50% stake reportedly earned Magic a whopping $70 million.

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Shaquille O’Neal and his varied business interests and investments

A four time NBA champion, Shaquille O’Neal, lived the superstar life during his NBA career. After retirement, O’Neal has not let business opportunities that arose out of his NBA career slide by. O’Neal has built up his business acumen so much so that he reportedly rales in more money each year through his investments than his best years on the court.

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O’Neal turned into a minority owner of an NBA franchise, the Sacramento Kings, in 2013. Joining the pizza restaurant chain, Papa John’s as a director on the board, O’Neal also became a spokesperson for the company. He also became a business partner in the ‘Authentic Brands Group’, a company that handles customer brands and celebrity licenses. O’Neal has proved that he can sustain his success both on the court and off it.

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Shalom Saldanha

245 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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