When it comes to sizing up deals and their relative worth in sports and branding, there might not be a better expert than Shaquille O’Neal, who has inked dozens of brand endorsement deals in the years that have followed his Hall of Fame NBA career, which ended in 2011.
Since winning four NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, Shaq has mastered working with companies, like Papa John’s and Carnival Cruise Lines, to reel in more money he says than he did on the court. Over the past couple of weeks, signed more than $2 billion worth of NBA free agency deals, according to ESPN.
Shaq recently spoke to Yahoo Finance and weighed in on which NBA teams have been spending wisely this offseason and how jumping from team to team has changed since he played.
Most notably, Shaq reiterated Michael Jordan’s distaste for superstars linking up with other superstars to create “super teams.”
“I like the old way where you have to beat the best to become the best,” he told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM. “I’m glad to say that my legacy will be written the same as Larry Bird or a Magic Johnson — we competed … But these young guys, to each his own. At the end, when their legacy is written, we’ll see how it’s written.”
Shaq praises the Lakers
As for where Shaq left his strongest legacy — the city of Los Angeles — the Hall of Famer had nothing but praise for the moves made by Jerry West, the man who once signed Shaq to the Lakers and helped the Los Angeles Clippers land one of the most hotly pursued free agents in Kawhi Leonard.
“I think Jerry West once again did a phenomenal job of doing things professional, and nobody even had this move being thought of and, you know, he did it,” he said.
If not the Clippers, Shaq said the Lakers might be the only other team that handled free agency as effectively by signing stars Anthony Davis and Avery Bradley.
“The Lakers has always been a team that have two or three big name guys they got a couple big name guys, so we’ll see,” Shaq said. “You can try to forecast who’s gonna do what and who’s gonna beat who, but everybody still has to play. You just have to pray nobody has any injuries, because remember if Golden State didn’t have those injuries they probably win the championship again and they can go pretty far.”