Shaquille O’Neal Net Worth: Shaquille O’Neal is a retired American basketball player, entrepreneur and television host who has a net worth of $400 million. He earned $292 million in salary alone during his time in the NBA. He earned well over $200 million from endorsements during that time. Even though he has been retired for many years, Shaq still earns around $60 million per year from endorsements and various business endeavors to this day.
Early Life: Shaquille O’Neal was born on March 6th, 1972 in Newark, New Jersey to parents Lucille O’Neal and Joe Toney. His father was addicted to drugs and went to prison for drug possession when O’Neal was just a baby. His parents never married and his father left soon after Shaq was born, upon his release from prison. O’Neal was estranged from his father for decades. At the age of two, his mother married Phillip Harrison who was a sergeant in the U.S. Army. O’Neal was a part of the Boys and Girls Club of America while growing up and he credits the organization for helping to keep him off the streets. The family moved from Newark and moved around to Germany and Texas. While still in high school, Shaq started to gain attention for his basketball talent. In his senior year, he led the San Antonio’s Robert G. Cole High School team to the state championship. O’Neal went on to Louisiana State University where he became a two-time SEC player of the year and a two-time All American. He also received the Adolph Rupp’s Trophy for the NCAA men’s basketball player of the year in 1991.
NBA Superstar: In 1992 O’Neal became the first overall pick for the Orlando Magic. A year later he was named the Rookie of the Year and voted an All Star-starter which had not been accomplished since Michael Jordan. In his second season, Shaq helped the Magic make their way to their first play-off series. The next year they made it to the finals, but lost to the Houston Rockets.
O’Neal was plagued by injury for a good deal of the 1995-96 season, though the Orlando Magic still finished the regular season with a winning record. In the playoffs that year, O’Neal and the Magic won the first two rounds but were ultimately defeated by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
In 1996, O’Neal was part of the men’s Olympic basketball team in Atlanta. That team went on to win the Olympic gold medal. It was during the Olympics that O’Neal announced his plans to join the Los Angeles Lakers as tensions rose amongst his coach, teammates and local Orlando Media. The Lakers offered O’Neal a seven year $121 million deal.
This move paired O’Neal with a teenaged Kobe Bryant, bringing two of the game’s biggest names together on one team. However, while his first few years with the Lakers were promising, they failed to clinch a championship. O’Neal battled against injury and personnel changes until a change in leadership turned things around.
The arrival of former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson in the 1999-00 season set the Lakers on a path that would make them a dominant force for years to come. Jackson challenged O’Neal and led him to step up his defensive game. Shaquille and the Lakers won the NBA championship that year, and would go on to win the title the next two years in a row.
O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004. The following year, Shaq signed a 5-year contract with the team for $100 million. While he likely could have demanded more money, he stated that it was another championship that he was after. The team got their chance the very next year, as the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks to clinch the team’s first ever title and O’Neal’s fourth.
Beginning in 2008, O’Neal’s days of long-term contracts with teams had come to an end. That year he was traded to the Phoenix Suns where, for the first time since his rookie season, he failed to make the playoffs. At the end of his first season with the team, he was traded to free up the budget. More one-year stints would follow, including with the Cleveland Cavaliers (alongside Lebron James) and his final season with the Boston Celtics.
Player Profile: Shaq stands at an astonishing 7 feet one inch and his shoe size is a remarkable 23. He became famous largely due to his physical stature, which gave him a distinct advantage over his opponents. On two occasions in his early NBA career, Shaq’s overwhelmingly powerful dunks broke the steel backboard supports of the net. This prompted the league to increase the strength and stability of the backboards from then on. O’Neal is famous for his “drop step” move which he nicknamed the Black Tornado.