Dr. Shaquille O'Neal on Business & Money

Shaquille O'Neal, NBA Hall of Famer, 4x Champion, TV personality, actor, platinum-selling recording artist, real estate developer, businessman, investor and has a Doctor of Education.

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About the podcast

Dr. Shaquille O'Neal on Business & Money

Dr. Shaquille O'Neal is a 7'1" basketball legend,  four-time NBA champion and widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He's also a leading TV personality, actor, platinum-selling recording artist, real estate developer, businessman, investor and has a Doctor of Education. 

In this episode Brett Kelly interviews Shaq on his family and upbringing, his personal goal setting process, wealth building investing principal, power of education and how he's built one of the largest personal brands in the world.

Show notes:

  • 1:35 - Introduction
  • 4:12 - The Impact Of Family
  • 7:10 - Personal Goal Setting Process For Success
  • 9:45 - How Much Money Shaquille's Actually Made Playing Basketball
  • 16:00 - Investing Principles For Building Wealth
  • 21:00 - The Power Of Education
  • 26:00 - Building The Largest Personal Brand In The World
  • 33:09 - Shaquille's Biggest Lesson

Learn more and connect with Shaquille O'Neal:


Brett Kelly (30s)
I'd like to give a big Sydney welcome to Dr. Shaquille O'Neal. It's incredible to have you here tonight. I really appreciate you making the time. And I hope to ask you some questions about business and your incredible career. 

People that know me well know that I love shoes. And so tonight I thought that the two of us should, you know, match. Can we just do a little, little bit of a shoe show there? You got guys. Now, if you don't have a pair of Shaq Reeboks, I commend them to you. They're very comfortable and they look amazing. So thank you.

Now, the other thing that I wanted to get in terms of housekeeping up front, I always loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and that golden ticket. Now our friends from Upstreet who allow us to give all of our people shares in our company, did something very special tonight and they made a $1000 USD gift to Dr. O'Neal.

Shaquille O'Neal (2m 26s)
Don't. You mean $1 million?

Brett Kelly (2m 29s)
To start at the beginning, which is a great place to start. You grew up in Brick City, which you shared with me, New York, Newark, New Jersey. You'll find your father was a drill sergeant. The three big values or big ideas that he left you with. Could you share them with us?

Shaquille O'Neal (2m 56s):
One is respect, respect yourself. We're speaking family, respect others. The second is pride. You know, I was ashamed of being a tall guy because, you know, as a tall guy, they expect you to be a great basketball player. And when I first started out, I wasn't that great. And then, you know, the last one was just represent, represent your family, represent your craft, represent who you are as a person. And when it's all said and done for me, it's a matter of what I invest in, or how many shares or what companies or what I own, I would like people to say Shaq was a nice guy when I'm no longer on this earth, which people say Shaq was a nice guy.

Brett Kelly (3m 36s):
Yeah, that's great. As I was reading about you, you were this enormous young man and you, at one point, you thought that you were a bully to a boy that was in a big fight. And he had a seizure or something.

Shaquille O'Neal (3m 56s):
So to overcome people looking at me and laughing at me, you know what I mean? Your son and I had a good conversation about criticizing me. I became a bully. Because as a bully, people fear you, and when they fear you, they don't say what's on their mind in front of you. Anyway. So one time I had an incident and I almost took this boy's life. And from that day on, when I was like 12 or 13, I said, I had to change my life because when you grow up on a military base, you know, the military has their own rules. But, you know, because my father was well known and the kid didn't pass away, they kind of took me on a tour to the jail and said, if this kid would have passed away, this is where you would have been. And you know, my dreams, like people always talk about wealth. To me, wealth was being able to buy my mother and father stuff that they could only dream about.

I told the story at the sit-down yesterday, one day, my mother and I were riding through a really nice neighborhood. And she just stopped and pulled over and looked at this house, a small house, wasn't even a big house, but my house is 76,000 square feet.So I have a really big house. So just looking at the house and, you know, she was a secretary, probably only made $40,000 a year. Dad made $40,000 a year. So, you know, $80,000 a year with two parents and five children doesn't really go very far. They learned to stretch it and, you know, make it go far. But she used to dream and look at that house. I knew that I had the opportunity to make a lot of money playing the sport that I love. So at that point, I said, you know what? Not only do I want to be wealthy, I want to be able to get her stuff that she wished she wouldn't be able to get on her own.

Brett Kelly (5m 52s):
So, was goal setting a big part of your early life? Did you look at where you were and have a clear idea of where you wanted to go?

Shaquille O'Neal (6m 1s):
Yeah, well, I call it dreamful attraction, similar to the law of attraction. I would just dream about stuff that I wanted to do. And, you know, at the tender age of 50, everything that I've wanted to do has come true.

You know, just be sitting in my room on punishment and watching movies and thinking, man, I would like to be a movie star, seeing Dr. J and Magic Johnson run up the court and people just marvel over their talent.

Man, I would like to be a big star like that. I would like to do this, I would like to do that. And when you grow up with a drill sergeant, they prepare you on how to get things done. And when you grow up with a drill sergeant, you're not allowed to quit, you're not allowed to get down on yourself.

So, let's say I swim across this lake and I didn't make it the first time, I'm coming back tomorrow. And if I made it to this point, I'm trying to make it to this point and this point. And that's why then one day I'd be able to swim across this with ease.

So, you never give up, you know, a lot of people, you know, want instant gratification, but for us, the real workers, we have to start from the bottom.

Brett Kelly (7m 7s):
And was it always like you mentioned your drill sergeant father, it was persistence, never give up. What was it about him?

Shaquille O'Neal (7m 16s):
He never allowed me to quit. You know, he was a high-level juvenile delinquent who joined the military. The military taught him discipline, honor, and integrity. And he wanted me to be better than he was. So he knew that I had the potential to become a great basketball player. So he made sure that I became a great basketball player.

Brett Kelly (7m 38s):
Now, when I was researching your life, I saw this great love of your mom. You talk about how you just wanted to make your mom proud. You wanted to buy her a house and be a good son. Is that accurate?

Shaquille O'Neal (7m 54s):
Was very accurate. You know, a woman wakes up, irons all our clothes, cooks a hell of a breakfast, gets us ready to drop us off at school, goes to work, comes home, takes a 30-minute tea break, prepares dinner, and never complained. Never took a sick day. So I just wanted to be able to just say one day you don't work anymore. And how much were you making, $40,000? Here's $400,000 a year, tax-free for you. I love you. Just wanted to be able to do that. And I've done that and more. But you know, that was my goal.

Brett Kelly (8m 32s):
So, when you get to LA to the big break, they sign you on a $120 million, seven-year contract. Now, because of my background in accounting, I think to myself, how does that actually roll? I've seen the video where you say you open this contract package, and you see all of the zeros and...

Shaquille O'Neal (8m 53s):
See all of the zeros zeroes that only one can dream about. And it was a great opportunity to not only make a lot of money but to become part of the legend, become part of folklore. When I arrived at the arena, the Forum, Jerry West sent me in a chair similar to this, and the lights came on, and all the retired jerseys were there, and the great Jerry West says, "One day, if this is done correctly, your name could be up there." And now my name is up there, you know, amongst all the great players. But you know, when you have a great Laker player believe in you like that, you have to believe in yourself. So, no, because he said that, I knew I was on my way, but I knew that with that, it would be a tough task and I would have to win championships. Started off rocky. We lost the first four years, but then when Phil Jackson joined us, we were able to knock off three in a row.

Brett Kelly (9m 52s):
Was there anything that you learned from Phil Jackson that you've been able to apply in business?

Shaquille O'Neal (9m 57s):
One thing I learned, the sage is the cousin of weed. Like he would come in every day, and we'd do these chants, and the room would get you high. But he told us about not only muscle memory but mental memory. We would do the same thing every day, right? So the first hour, we meditate, and then the second hour, we walk through the plays, four-hour walk-through, walk-through, and then we practice. And then we did the same thing every day. And as we were meditating, he would tell us to go to our happy place. And my happy place was being able to buy my parents anything they want. So in times when the moment of truth came and, you know, people panic, he told us not to panic. And if you practice that and you get the muscle memory of not panicking, when the moment of truth comes, you will not panic. So even in the Western Conference Finals, we're down by 15 in the fourth quarter. And if we lose this game, we have to start all over. Guys didn't panic; we were able to turn the switch and win the game and move on to the finals.

Brett Kelly (11m 10s):
Have you ever lost an amount of money in a deal that made you panic?

Shaquille O'Neal (11m 13s):
No. Because before you succeed, you must first learn to fail. And most of the deals that I get into are ones that I vet. So if I make a mistake, I learn from that mistake, because when you grow up with a drill sergeant, you're programmed not to make two mistakes in a row. Investments can be risky. And sometimes if you don't do your due diligence to its full potential, you can miss certain things. So in investing, I've lost some money, but you know, when you do your due diligence and you have smarter people around you, I've also had some great deals.

Brett Kelly (11m 54s):
So, in the NBA, 65% of NBA players end up broke within five years at the end of their career. Why aren't you one of them?

Shaquille O'Neal (12m 4s):
Because if I do that, the big house that I bought my mother, she loses it, and I can't have that. So, I had to learn about financial literacy, I had to take what I learned from basketball, and apply the teamwork structure to my business. And you always need great partners and great people around you, smarter people around you. So, you know, when I get approached with a business deal, if I like it, then it goes to level two. My guys, you know, they look at it and say, 'I don't like this, I don't like this, I don't like this.' It's a panel of four, five, six guys. If the panel is positive and says we like it, then it goes to phase three and I get it to the lawyers. And it goes to phase four, the final talks. And then the last stage, 'How much? What's the return on the investment?' Boom, boom, bam. It usually works like that. So if you can get to stage five, we can become partners.

Brett Kelly (13m 3s):
So that's incredible that you've been able to avoid the situation that has faced so many professional sportspeople. In the NFL, it's even higher. It's terrible.

Shaquille O'Neal (13m 16s):
You know, a lot of times we don't apply simple math. You mentioned $120 million over seven years, but after taxes, it's only $59-60 million.

Brett Kelly (13m 26s):
Yeah. So I wanted to ask you, if you get paid $120 million, do you pay 20% to your manager, 46% to taxes?

Shaquille O'Neal (13m 35s):
Not that much, 4% to the agent, 10% to the manager, and I think five to 10% to a business manager, but that's not where the chunk goes. The chunk goes to the government. So I used to get all my money up front. So the first year when I received $20 million, it was $10.9 million. And I spent most of that in one year being irresponsible because, you know, I had some money in the bank, and I wanted to have some fun. So I bought a house cash, $3 million, bought a couple of Rolls Royces, took a couple of trips. And then my accountant reminded me, 'Ah, you just spent half of your check.' And I wasn't even thinking about FICA and tax and all that, then only spent about $6 million. And he reminded me that all the government gets 49-50%. So after that, I didn't make that mistake, but I had a nice big nest egg from Orlando and all my endorsements. So every now and then, it's okay to splurge and have fun. But you know, the guys that are in the 65% of being broke, they just everyday, boom, boom, boom, boom. And for me, it's not an everyday thing.

Brett Kelly (14m 43s):
And you've talked about ownership, that you got to a point, when was the point where, and how did you learn that you needed to own businesses and assets and build a future?

Shaquille O'Neal (14m 55s):
Because you have to realize that nothing lasts forever. And the average player in the NBA goes five to seven years; that's the average player. The great ones can go 10, 11, 12, 15, 19, 20. But I knew that when I retired I'd probably be in my early forties and still have a lot of life left, and I wanted to start a business. The way I learned business was a gentleman gave me a book, "The Dummy's Guide to Starting Your Own Business."

Brett Kelly (15m 27s):
I tried to buy one to bring to get you to sign it, but I couldn't find one anywhere.

Shaquille O'Neal (15m 31s):
And when I was reading it, I wasn't familiar with anything, but there was a chapter that really piqued my interest: joint ventureships. For example, if I was to start an accounting firm in America, that's when I would call you. You know, think about it. And our business deal would be, "Hey, we do this, profits whatever they split." And the only thing I would have to worry about is making sure I get the return on my investment. You are the accountant, you already have 30 firms here. So I know, you know what you're doing. So that's the best way to do it. Then I could probably say I own an accounting firm, but I'm not really doing all the work.

So joint ventureships and partnerships are important. For example, when I wanted to start a shoe company, I would love to start a shoe company, but I can't manage factories in China and this and that. But Reebok, who already has that structure, do a joint venture with them, Shaq and Reebok. And you know, like I said, my business deal is okay, what are you going to pay me of my royalties, this and that, distribution, price point, all that stuff. I could focus on that as a single individual. A lot of guys go broke when they try to do things they're not capable of doing. Could I have a shoe factory? Yes, but not gonna not have the infrastructure to fly back and forth to China and play basketball and do all the things.

So all my business deals are joint ventureships.

Brett Kelly (16m 58s):
It's amazing. And you've, you've mentioned this teamwork idea that you learned and that you use now. Is there a video where you talk about, if you had a law firm, you'd implement your teamwork idea. What is that idea?

Shaquille O'Neal (17m 11s): So in the city I live in, Atlanta, you have a bunch of individual lawyers that are great. I know for a fact I can get them together and we can create a powerful firm. I would give them infrastructure and I would give them a building. I'll make a building. I will make them an offer they couldn't refuse. I would have one of the most powerful law firms in the country, but it's not a law, but it's, it's, it's well known that in order to help a law firm, you have to be a lawyer. So I thought about going to law school many times,

Brett Kelly (17m 44s):
No, I love your commitment to education. Your drill sergeant father, I believe, said you need to finish your education because if anything goes wrong, you need to be able to look after yourself. But you went on, you did a bachelor's degree, an MBA, and a doctorate in education.

Shaquille O'Neal (18m 0s):
So I left and got drafted in '92, and I was doing a lot of things, but my parents still didn't have the full smile. It's like, you promised that you would go to school. So I got my bachelor's in 2000, but I noticed that every time I'd go to a business meeting, the guys who were doing deals would be like, "Hello, Shaq, how are you doing?" And then they would turn away and look at my lawyers and my accountants and all those guys. I said, "Oh, you guys don't think I'm in charge. You guys don't think I understand the lingo." So I went and got my master's from the University of Phoenix. The University of Phoenix is an online program mostly, but I went to the head officials and said, "I don't want to do it online. I want somebody to teach me in the class." And they came back and said, "Unfortunately, we can't set up a classroom for one guy. You need 15 people." So I paid for 15 of my friends to get their master's.

Brett Kelly (18m 59s):
That's so good. That's a great story. And shows the entrepreneurship and getting things done that you've demonstrated so many times. How did you come to do a PhD in education?

Shaquille O'Neal (19m 12s):
Well, my mother came to me after I received my master's, she was crying, and her and my father were like, "We are so proud of you. And, you know, we don't have any doctors in the family." So here we go again. So I did it, but not for like, "I have a doctorate in education." It was more for a title, a title for my kids, a title for other kids that are looking up to me because, you know, you can always say "get an education," but it'd be nice to show them like, "This is what I did when I say get an education. This is what I mean." And so I like to, you know, show examples. A lot of people can tell you what to do, but I like to show and tell you what to do.

Brett Kelly (19m 55s):
Yeah. And what was the thesis, did you do a thesis in it or was it called...

Shaquille O'Neal (19m 58s):
Yes. The duality of humor and seriousness in leadership styles. I was curious to see which leader was more effective, the humorous guys, such as myself, or the serious guy. Like you, you look kind of serious. So what I realized in doing the research is that no one individual can be 100% one way. We modulate during certain circumstances. My leadership style is 70% humorous, 30% seriousness, which is very effective. And I've, I've, when I was interviewing the people from Apple, the founder who passed away, Steve Jobs, they said he was 90% serious, 10% humorous. Both can be effective. You can win championships, but if you want to win multiple championships, it's good to add humor in the workplace. But you have to modulate, like, I can say a certain joke around the fellows that you can't say around the females. So you just have to be careful. But you know, the guys that work for me, I try to try to energize them by always doing something humorous. Like, for example, if a guy messes up or not, I'm going inside, "You mess up one more time, and you're going to be working in Czechoslovakia."

Brett Kelly (21m 26s):
And can I ask you about personal brand? You were told, and I picked up through all the research I was doing on you, I love this trait of, if somebody tells you that you can't do something, you don't respond well to that. You'd like to prove them wrong.

Shaquille O'Neal (21m 47s):
Yeah, no. It was having the conversation with your son. Now, when he asked the question, or what, if they... Well, "no"s don't exist to me. They say I can't do it, I just say, "Okay, we'll see," and I'm going to do it. Just, you know, making sure it gets done. Even if I fall nine times, I'm gonna get up and just keep doing it, keep trying it. You know, when I first was learning about branding, you go into these firms, and it's like, "We're going to do this. We're going to do this. We're going to do that." I said, "No, we're not going to do that. We're going to do this." So, you know, when it comes to the Shaq brand, it's all about fun. It's all about making people laugh and making people have a good time. You see a lot of people portray a character, and at some point, it catches up with them. With me, what you see is what you get. And even if I do happen to make a mistake, I want the kids and the parents to go, "We're not going to do that. We're going to do something different." I never portrayed myself as being perfect. I never portray myself as being better or holier than thou. Because as men, we all put our pants on the same way. We all work hard. We all have wives and children. We all do the same thing. You know, some people just have a little bit more success, but because you have more success than me in accounting doesn't mean that you're better than I am as a man. So I treat people as I expect them to treat me whether you are a homeless guy or wealthy fellows like you and me, I treat people with honor and respect.

Brett Kelly (23m 18s):
So in your early career, when you were told "big men don't sell," and I could see the determination that you then pursued that with. Was it a deliberate part of your personal branding to say there's a lot of excellent sportspeople who don't behave that well, that are a bit arrogant. Did you deliberately choose to be humble, nice, and funny?

Shaquille O'Neal (23m 45s):
It's just being myself. This is who I am. Yeah. Now, again, I might be a better athlete than you, but that doesn't mean I'm a better man than you. Like, I know for a fact, these people in here are way smarter than I, and I accept that and I understand that. And I enjoy that and I like that. So when I did a marketing project in school, you know, my project was simple. I'm going to come because, you know, the professor said, "Present me something that can be sold in the future." So I already had the Shaq shoes, Shaq shirt, Shaq underwear, Shaq tank tops, Shaq everything. And you know, he kind of embarrassed me in class. He was like, "I see you put a lot of thought into this, Mr. O'Neal, but big guys don't sell." And he was correct because at that time only two guys on TV were Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan was coming. No big guy had a commercial, big guy, everything. So I went back into my room and was like, how can I be different? And I kept seeing this dumb dog Spuds McKenzie. Right? He had his commercials were funny. Then I go to the store, and he has cups and he has t-shirts, and he got this and he got that, all the things that I wanted. So I said, okay, if I ever get the opportunity to show myself to the world, it has to be a lot of humor in all my commercials. So every commercial you see is designed and written by me because I know how I want people to see me.

Brett Kelly (25m 11s):
And it's worked incredibly well.

Shaquille O'Neal (25m 13s):
Worked very well. I'm here talking to you, aren't I?

Brett Kelly (25m 17s):
Or just go, but it's a natural part of who you are. Like, I've seen the footage with the kids. We've got a few kids here tonight, but I think they all, you guys said you didn't want to meet Shaq, is that right? No. No, but

Shaquille O'Neal (25m 34s):
Yeah, that's good.

Brett Kelly (25m 36s):
But you put, you put a, it's a natural part of who you are. I've watched your playing career. I've seen the business side of it. It just seems to come very naturally to you. Was it your mom? Because if your dad was the drill sergeant, where does the humor come from?

Shaquille O'Neal (25m 51s):
I was a class clown, liked to make people laugh. Again, you know, after I stopped being a bully, I was like, how can I get people to like me? Make them laugh. Everyone loves humor. And when it comes to talking to children, I know I'm that portal. What I mean by the portal is they see a superstar. They see a superstar they can touch, just want to have a conversation with a lot of superstars. But I want to be the guy that, you know, your son asks a question. And if you listened to what I said, I know you're very, you're proud of him. But if he listens to what I said, you're going to be super proud of them. Because what I said was very important. It doesn't matter what other people say. It matters what mommy and daddy say because you guys created him and you guys can help him get to the next level. You guys are setting a good example, founder, co-founder, and you guys have the answers to the test. A lot of have to search and this and that and fail. But you guys already have the answer to the test. So if he listens to you, sky's the limit for the young man, both of them, and your beautiful young daughter.

Brett Kelly (26m 53s):
Yeah, no, appreciate it. When you think about your future, having done so much, what are the goals that you're setting in big dreams that you have for the next 20 years?

Shaquille O'Neal (27m 6s):
Marry a 19-year-old, like you.

Brett Kelly (27m 10s):
That's highly recommended.

Shaquille O'Neal (27m 13s):
Some more babies.

Brett Kelly (27m 14s):

Shaquille O'Neal (27m 15s):
Sail the seven seas, just continue to travel, just continue to, you know, make people happy and have fun and live my life.

Brett Kelly (27m 25s):
So legacy, the thing you want to be remembered as, as a nice guy. I know you'll be remembered as a funny guy.

Shaquille O'Neal (27m 33s):
My legacy here is I want people to recognize me as Shaq O'Neal, AKA the black kangaroo.

Brett Kelly (27m 51s):
And can I ask you, I loved your Brick City medallion. When did you get that made? What inspired you, and who did it?

Shaquille O'Neal (28m 2s):
This represents where I'm from, and a jeweler had it made for me. It's just, you know, to represent where I'm from. It's a rough area, very rough area. And I'm from the projects of Newark, New Jersey. And I was very influential in tearing those projects down and building condos and mixed-use housing. It's something I'm very proud of. A lot of young men don't make it past the age of 20. So I was very fortunate.

Brett Kelly (28m 30s):
And the work that you did there in the property development, you mentioned that it was about showing a different vision. What was your thinking there?

Shaquille O'Neal (28m 39s):
A lot of the great things I do, I get inspiration from my mother, my father. So we knew, after being super successful, we'd go back to the neighborhood, and it wasn't like it was when we were younger. It was very rundown. My mother one day said, "I wish somebody would come back and help beautify the city." So again, joint ventureships, I partnered with one of the top developers, Boraie Development, and we put a lot of money into the city. I actually helped build a new skyscraper in Newark, the tallest building in the history of Newark. We have regular people living there, we have Section 8 people living there, it's mixed-use with shops on the bottom. So I wanted to be one of the guys to help beautify the city again.

Brett Kelly (29m 21s):
And it's now known as the center of the internet in that region. It's close to New York, and there's a lot of business there. And you know, my building is right across from the train tracks. So instead of living in New York, where the rent is substantially higher, you can live in my building. I'm actually on building three now. So, you know, a lot of people, tech people, have come down, and they just jump on the train, go to New York, and come back.

Brett Kelly (29m 49s):
And so how did that come to you? Was it a friend, or was it your mom and dad, or...

Shaquille O'Neal (29m 55s):
So I got the inspiration from my mother, but you know, I still have a lot of relatives there. So just going back and hearing, "I wish there was something here. I wish there was that." She turned to us in a shopping center, "You know, we don't have a movie theater." So the first thing I did was build a movie theater for the kids.

Brett Kelly (30m 10s):
Yeah. The one thing that you wish you knew when you were 18 or 15...

Shaquille O'Neal (30m 16s):

Brett Kelly (30m 17s):

Shaquille O'Neal (30m 17s):
Because I'm able to stop time and think about what I'm going to do and think about the outcomes before. And I invest in this company; it's either going to go good or go bad. Alright, let's do it. So you know, I'm able to really think about things before I do it. So everything that I've done since I've entered the life of being a professional

Brett Kelly (30m 47s):
So mental health, how have you, you know, used your mind from the discipline of sport to think with such discipline?

Shaquille O'Neal (30m 57s):
You know, I'm actually doing research on mental health and mental fortitude. To become a great athlete, you have to have mental fortitude. There were a lot of times I wanted to break down. A lot of times I thought that I wasn't good enough, but you know, because of the way I was raised and because of my belief system, you had to overcome a lot of things mentally. I don't really like to talk on mental health because there's a lot of, a lot of categories of mental health, but it is a real thing. But I'm trying to see if mental health and mental fortitude are in the same category before I comment. I actually thought about going back to school to get my doctorate in psychology so I could be an expert when I speak on it, because you know, mental health is, is real. And when I was young, my father taught me a very important lesson on, on pressure. We have a game versus the New York Knicks, and I played a terrible game. So I flew home and he said that I couldn't handle the pressure.

I said, nah. And he was very upset because his thing is, "You're rich, you're making all this money. Dude, just guard me." I thought we were being attacked. With my wealth and your accounting firms, they'd get a lot of money from me. So he said, "I'm tired of you rich, spoiled brats complaining about, you know, you can't step up to the challenge." So the next morning, we, he said, "Be at my house at oh 500." That's 5:00 AM. So the next morning we're riding, and we see this homeless family, and we stopped. And I said, "What are we doing here?" "Shut up." And he teaches me that pressure is when you don't know where your next meal is coming from. So you make $100 million playing this game, I don't want to hear about your game, the pressures. You have no pressures. This is pressure. "Get out." So what do you mean get out? "Get out," he said.

So I have to get out of the car. And as I approached the family, I knew his mission was for me to help this family get off the street today. So talking to the father, I said, "Hey, I'm Shaq." "Oh, I know who you are. Your dad, he takes care of me. He brings us clothes, he brings us food. He's a great man. I appreciate him very much." I had certain means that my father didn't have. I had certain connections that he did not. And my father knew exactly what he was doing. So I'm talking to the man, and the man said, "I just, you know, I'll put in a couple of applications. I just came on some hard times and then I'll be there, I'll be there." I said, "Well, you need a place to stay?" "Yeah." "They a place to stay. Hold on." "Hey John, you still got those apartments?" "Yeah." "You got a three-bedroom?" "Yeah." "How much is the rent?" "$3000." "Hold on. 12 times 3, $36,000. I'm gonna write you a check for $36,000 for a three-bedroom today." "Alright. Boom, boom, boom." So I told the guy, "I got you a place to stay. No, I insist. I don't want you to stay on the street." And it was him, his wife, his daughter, and his son. "We got to get you off the streets. I need some furniture. Guy gonna come in, get him some furniture, and whatever you want, just put it on my tab." "Boom, boom, go." So then I was like, okay, I got him a place to stay, got him the furniture, got him the TVs. Now I got to get him some income, right? I don't want to just, you know, I don't want this guy to rely on me.

So I said, "What do you like to do?" He said, "Man, I can do anything. Whatever. Cut your grass." "You like to cut grass?" "And Mark, you still got the lawn service?" "Yeah, I got, okay, I got a guy. Well, he's going to be there." "Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Make sure he gets a job, whatever, whatever." And this guy came back two years later, he had his own lawn service company. So I hired him to do my house in Orlando. And he was doing my house for a long time. I had to let him go because I sold my house in Orlando, not because I didn't like him, but he's super successful now. You know, we still talk every now and then. But I learned that pressure is when you don't know where your next meal is coming from. So I stopped complaining and stopped going, "I couldn't do it." And I had to really recharge my mental fortitude and say, "You got to overcome it." And those, you're playing in hostile arenas, and you miss a lot of free throws, but if you want to win this game and get to the next level, you got to overcome it. No excuses.

Brett Kelly (35m 37s):
So that mindset is really pronounced. When I look at all of the things that you've done, like the ability to change is unusual. To just say, "I'm not going to think like that anymore. I'm going to think like this." Did someone teach it to you? Or why did that happen?

Shaquille O'Neal (35m 55s):
Yeah, it was taught to me, brother, by my drill sergeant. And back in those days, if you didn't follow orders, you got disciplined. So I can remember one time being a class clown, I had to hold dictionaries like this. Because I was using vulgar language, I had to hold the dictionary while I sit on the wall for about four or five hours. So it teaches you, it may seem harsh, but it teaches you that if you do that again, this is going to be the outcome. So my father did a perfect job of raising me. The standards that he instilled probably would be unacceptable in today's society. But every time I look up in the sky because my father passed away about eight, nine years ago, every time I look up in the sky, I say, "Thank you."

Brett Kelly (36m 41s):
So I wanted to present you with this. It's one of our team members, this is Floyd, the lion, named after my dad who died about 19 years ago. But they're handmade by the oldest teddy bear company in the world in England. And one of our team members, Gary, he came up with this really special idea. There are only 200 of them, and this is number 34 of 200. And he's had his little Kelly Partners jacket taken off, and we've put number 34 in there, put it in this beautiful box, Floyd. And I'd just love to give you that as a thank you. I did think it would look amazing around your neck, on your medallion, but maybe that's for another night. And when you have grandkids, maybe this could be a great present for them. I'd love to give that to you. This is Floyd, the lion.

Shaquille O'Neal (37m 29s):
Thank you. Appreciate it.

Brett Kelly (37m 31s):
On behalf of everyone here tonight, I just really can't thank you enough for coming.

End of transcript

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