In 1992, the legendary NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal (then only 20 years-old) made a financial mistake that forever changed the way he handled his money.
Shaq stopped by Business Insider to talk about his collaboration with home security technology company Ring, to raise awareness about how homeowners can better protect their property this holiday season. Shaq recently kicked off a campaign with Ring’s CEO Jamie Siminoff around protecting holiday package deliveries – specifically as National Package Protection Day approaches on Nov. 29. Following is a transcript of the video.
[Shaq once spent $1 million in one day. It was 1992 and he was 20 years old. He’d just signed an endorsement deal with a trading card company.]
Shaquille O’Neal: It was me being overly happy-slash-irresponsible. My agent called me and said, “Hey, you’ve got a million dollars.”
But I didn’t subtract his 15%, right? I didn’t subtract the Texas state tax or the FICA. So, in my mind, I was just trying to do the simple math. I always wanted a fancy Mercedes-Benz. I used to go to the 7-Eleven and get the fake Mercedes, the little ones and just drive them, you know, on top of my bed and — I’m gonna get one of these one day.
So, once I knew I got that million dollars, I went to the bank like a big-time guy and set up a little checking account. And I said “Okay, I’ve got a million dollars. Here you go, sir.”
I said, “I’ll be back.”
So, I went to the Mercedes dealership. The guy says $150,000. I write him a check, give it to him. So now, in my head, a million minus $150,000, I’ve still got $850,000 left, right?
So, I get home. My father says “That’s nice. Where’s mine at?”
Go buy the same car for my father. I’m good. I’ve got $700,000 left. And then came back home. My mother said, “I want the smaller version,” which cost $100,000, so in my mind, I’ve got $600,000. So now, I’ve gotta go do what all the homeboys do — gotta buy rings and diamonds and earrings and this and that.
A couple of days later, the bank manager called me in and he sat me down and he said, “I’ve been following you two or three years. Love your career. You’re probably gonna be a fabulous player and make a lot of money. But, you know a lot of you guys, when you’re done playing, don’t have anything. I don’t want you to be like that. I want you to take a look at this.”
And I was like 50, $60,000 in the hole. So, I was just writing checks. I was buying TVs. I was just buying stuff I didn’t even need. So after that, I said, “You know what? I need to get me a business manager.”
Luckily, I had a lot of hard lessons early, but I’m the type of guy that — I don’t like to miss two shots in a row, even if it’s a free throw.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published November 8, 2017.