Shaquille O’Neal shares why he left lucrative deal with Reebok to make affordable shoes with Walmart

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read

During a podcast appearance, Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal recently told the story of why he left a massive sneaker deal with Reebok to instead produce millions of affordable shoes with Walmart.

He explained that his decision to leave Reebok, who was paying him $40 million over five years, was sparked when a fan angrily complained to him about how his shoes weren’t affordable for kids.

O’Neal mentioned that he tried to give the woman the $2,000 he had in his pockets at the time. She slapped the money out of his hands and continued going at him.

“That day, I cut ties with Reebok, started my own brand,” O’Neal said. “I said, ‘Keep the money. This ain’t right. … I’ll still wear the shoes that I wear during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing. … The money you owe me, keep it.’ So, I started the Shaq brand, and I went to my favorite store, Walmart, and we did a deal. I was in all stores and my price point for the shoes were $29-$19, and since then we sold over 400 million pairs. It’s not that kids don’t want to wear $20 shoes. They don’t want to wear shoes that look like they cost $20.”

Over the years, it has become extremely clear that O’Neal is a very generous person. He certainly has a big personality, but he is seemingly always willing to put others before himself.

O’Neal finished his NBA career with a long list of accolades. A 15-time All-Star, O’Neal won two scoring titles, an MVP award and four NBA titles. Today, he’s a Hall of Famer.

He finished his playing days with averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He spent almost two full decades in the league, and a good chunk of that time was spent with the Lakers.

These days, O’Neal is involved in sports media. Many folks think of him as one of the most entertaining basketball analysts out there.

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