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24 Years After ‘Accidental’ Investment in $1697.05 Billion Worth Company, Shaquille O’Neal Reflects on Fortunate Encounter

Published 09/22/2023, 7:31 AM EDT

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You can’t build a $400 million net worth by sheer luck. Shaquille O’Neal made his fortune through his grueling NBA career and expanding into multiple businesses. Some nifty investments helped too. However, Big Diesel made one big investment early in his career that has given him lucrative returns. The multi-hyphenate entrepreneur didn’t have a prophetic vision about how it would grow. In fact, he confessed the investment was an accident.

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Shaq is now a prolific investor who recently ventured into a purpose-driven platform. But his older investment was based on a chance encounter.

Shaquille O’Neal has made multiple tech investments


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The Big Aristotle is now a player in the edtech space. He invested in Edsoma, an AI-powered app for young kids.  This is his first edtech investment but not the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s first investment by a longshot. His most famous investment undoubtedly was in the early incarnation of a world-famous search engine.

He revealed in a recent interview that he ventured into the search company’s giant growth by accident. It goes back to 1999, when he was yet to win a championship title but was still a recognizable big man.


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I was at Four Seasons, I was eating lunch and there were four distinguished gentlemen sitting there playing with their kids, and the kids recognize me and they’re playing with me,” he said.

One of them was an investor who set the stage for Shaq’s investing career.

Basically, I’m doing a babysitting job, and one gentleman says ‘I want to talk about this company called Google,’ and just talking about search engines and ‘you’ll be able to type in anything,’ and I was like, ‘That sounds good.’ We had a meeting with them and it looked good, and I put some money in and I forgot about it.

It’s not known how much O’Neal invested. In 1999, he invested in Google’s Series A at a $100 million valuation. He was shocked how much that investment grew.

Shaq’s shock over Google returns

The Google trajectory is well-known. It’s omnipresent at $1697.05 billion today. Shaquille O’Neal didn’t anticipate that his stock in it would grow that much.


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“The newspaper told me how much I made and I couldn’t believe how much I made.” He must’ve made plenty on his initial investment but it left him with a regret. “It was presented to me, I knew it was gonna hit and I said, ‘Wow, I’ll try it.’ My only regret is that I wish I would have brought more.”

O’Neal was still new in the money-raising game. Through a seminar by Jeff Bezos, he learned to invest in something that would change people’s lives. He followed that principle ever since.

Shaq made an undisclosed investment in Edsoma after trying the app himself and has added his own input in its development. He has helped raised $2.5 million and will help the company raise more.


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O’Neal is certainly making sure he didn’t regret any other investment.

WATCH THIS STORY | Spoilt For Choice Between LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, And Nikola Jokic, WNBA Star Sue Bird Might Have A Solution For Shaquille O’Neal

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Written by:

Caroline John


One take at a time

Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair