20 Shaq Facts: A “Voices of Vision” Primer

Written by: FMWF Chamber of Commerce

Photos courtesy of FMWF Chamber of Commerce

Last month, we announced some big news. In case you haven’t heard, it’s that our 2017 Voices of Vision speaker is Shaquille O’Neal.

If you’re not familiar, Voices of Vision is an annual Chamber event that brings nationally known thought leaders to the community. It brings together people of all walks of life to hear from others with incredible stories.

Previous speakers have included:

  • Lt. Col. Oliver North
  • Famed Watergate journalist Bob Woodward
  • Former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann
  • Former Florida Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush
  • NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw
  • Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Last year, we featured Robert O’Neill, a SEAL Team Six leader responsible for taking out Osama bin Laden. These are some big shoes to fill, but we’re pretty sure Shaq’s size 23 feet can do just that.

Of course, you know Shaq mostly for his accomplishments in the NBA. He’s a four-time NBA Champion, 15-time All Star and three-time Finals MVP. He played for 20 years with six teams and was named one of the most influential athletes by Forbes. When we started learning more about his business accomplishments, though, that’s when we were really impressed.

20 Shaq Facts
FMWF Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Craig Whitney with a life-size cardboard cutout of Shaq

“His list of achievements as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor and family man are truly impressive.”

And that’s the reason Shaq is headlining our event. It’s not just because he’s an accomplished sports star. His list of achievements as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor and family man are truly impressive. In fact, there are so many that we could take up pages of this magazine sharing everything. For now, though, here are a few things you might not know.

  1. After a nearly 20-year career as an NBA player, Shaq is now an analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA.
  2. Today, he’s worth more than $350 million and with all his investments, stands to make more than he did playing in the NBA.
  3. Shaq owns more than 150 Five Guys franchises. That’s more than 10 percent of all locations! He also owns more than 15 Auntie Anne’s pretzel stands across the country as well.
  4. Many of Shaq’s $20 million in endorsement deals revolve around his favorite foods: Fruity Pebbles, Muscle Milk, Vitamin Water and Arizona Cream Soda are just a few companies and products with which he’s signed.
  5. He also invests in fitness ventures. Shaq owns 40 24-Hour Fitness locations.
  6. Shaq invested in Google before the company even went public.
  7. An honorary U.S. Deputy Marshal and a reserve police officer with several states’ departments, Shaq is an honorary sheriff’s deputy in Clayton County, Georgia, and is even rumored to be considering a run for sheriff by 2020.
  8. Shaq dabbles in real estate, too. In 2006, he created The O’Neal Group, where his first investment was The Met Miami high rise. He also is part owner of several nightclubs in Las Vegas.
  9. You’ve probably seen Shaq’s commercials for The General auto insurance, but it’s because he actually insured his Ford Bronco through The General in his college days. He was a happy customer, then, and still is today.
  10. Not only can you get car insurance with Shaq’s seal of approval, but you can get that same car washed! Shaq owns 150 car washes, too.
  11. While in the NBA, Shaq went back to school to complete his bachelor’s degree, followed by his MBA and finally his doctorate.
  12. Shaq wrote his own autobiography titled “Shaq Talks Back.”
  13. Off the court, Shaq is a media personality. He’s starred in movies, TV shows, has several rap albums and a video game, and hosts a podcast.
  14. Shaq is social-media savvy. He was the first celebrity to have a verified Twitter account! He also announced his NBA retirement via Tout, a social media app that allows users to tape 15-second video statuses.
  15. Shaq says his grandmother, Odessa, was his role model. Years later, he gives back by partnering with the Boys & Girls Club, and he advocates for mentoring and encourages kids to stay in school.
  16. Recently, he announced a new company called Shaquille O’Meals to invest in food franchises.
  17. Shaq recently bought a Krispy Kreme location and has been named a spokesperson for the brand, but he says he’d like to expand his ownership to 100 of the popular doughnut chains.
  18. In a move he considers one of the great financial mistakes of his life, Shaq reportedly turned down an offer from Howard Schultz to partner with Starbucks simply because he believed that “black people don’t drink coffee.” His investment philosophy is simple, though: He partners with brands he personally likes and uses.
  19. After joining the NBA at age 20, Shaq spent his first $1 million in less than an hour. After receiving advice to not become another broke player after retirement, he began taking his money more seriously, which has led to his savvy business skills now.
  20. I have no doubt that Shaq will wow our crowd. I hope you’ll join me in hearing his message at Voices of Vision. Floor seats are already sold out, but we still have arena seating available. Don’t drop the ball!

To register, visit FMWFChamber.com or call 218-233-1100

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The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is a bi-state, regional federation of over 2,100 private, public and non-profit member firms representing more than 109,000 people. The largest local chamber in North Dakota and Minnesota, The Chamber advocates for a strong metropolitan community and supports the interests of its members, which are located in Cass and Clay Counties and beyond.