Shaquille O’Neal, Who Has a $400 Million Net Worth, Admits He Lost Millions Due to His Mother but Only for His Own Good

Published 11/29/2022, 8:10 AM EST

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Shaquille O’Neal’s journey to becoming an individual with several accolades and a net worth of $400 million is utterly inspiring. While much is already spoken and written about his life, the Hall of Famer released a docuseries wherein he and his family candidly spoke about his journey. One such story revolved around O’Neal losing over a million dollars because of a decision made by his mother.

Shaquille O’Neal represented Louisiana State University (LSU) during his days as a college basketball player. While he struggled to live up to expectations during his freshman year, things changed during his sophomore year. Shaq was unstoppable and made it to the All-American first team averaging 27.6 points and 14.7 rebounds per game.


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Shaquille O’Neal lost out on a contract, thanks to Mama O’Neal

After having a dream run as a sophomore, Big Aristotle wanted to make the most out of the storm that he had caused. In simple words, he wanted to enter the draft and play in the NBA. With this desire in mind, he marched to his parents. His mother, Lucille O’Neal, didn’t say no immediately, but she presented him with a task.

via Getty

She asked Shaq to balance a checkbook. However, her son failed to complete this task. He said, “Momma said you’re not ready, baby. This conversation is over.” 


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On the other hand, his father, Phillip Harrison, said, “We’ve been broke for 17 years of your life, we can be broke for 18.” 

Mama O’Neal’s goal was to communicate to Shaquille O’Neal that he was not completely ready for the big leagues and the pressure that came with it. It didn’t matter to his parents that he was going to earn millions of dollars. They wanted him to earn his degree while grooming himself to brace the extremities of the league.

O’Neal played another season of college basketball before declaring for the NBA draft


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In his junior year, Shaquille O’Neal continued to play like a force of nature. As his opponents couldn’t defend against him, they attacked him physically. Shaq soon realized that college-level basketball was not challenging enough for him and that he didn’t have any competition left. Now, he was also able to balance checkbooks and handle himself. Hence, he put his foot down and made his choice to go pro.

O’Neal withdrew from LSU and declared for the NBA draft. On June 24, 1992, the Orlando Magic made him the number one draft pick.


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Watch This Story: $400 Million Rich Shaquille O’Neal Used Elvis Presley Marilyn Monroe and Playboy to Earn Millions

What is your take on this Shaquille O’Neal story? Let us know in the comments below.


Written by:

Shriya Rajachandra


One take at a time

Shriya Rajachandra is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism, Psychology, and Communicative English. Shriya previously interned at The New Indian Express, but her favorite journalist, Marcus Thompson motivated her to start writing about basketball.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra