Heart of Gold: Amazing Reason Why Shaquille O’Neal Once Turned Down $40 Million Reebok Shoe Deal
One man's whose generosity continues to amaze me with each passing story is LSU and NBA legend - and multi-millionaire - Shaquille O'Neal.
The man loves to bless people with his time and with his money. Whether it's visiting neighborhood kids to play basketball with them or paying for some random person's engagement ring, the man's desire to give to others knows no bounds.
It's one amazing thing to give money to others; it's another to give up tons of money in order to make a difference for others.
On the Full Send podcast, Shaq tells the story about how he came to start his own brand of shoes while turning down a $40 million shoe deal with Reebok in the process.
As a child, you probably remember - wearing the right shoes was very important as it pertained to social status. If a kid shows up to school with shoes that do not meet his/her peers' approval, it could result in that child being teased. It's a sad part of life but it's true.
One day, a woman approached him very upset that his shoes were not affordable for his fan base that was buying them.
"You motherf*****! Charging these babies all of this money for the shoes! Why don't you make a shoe that's affordable?" Shaq recalled the woman saying to him as he left the arena one day. Shaq says he offered the woman the money in his pocket - $2,000.00 - but she rejected it.
That got him thinking.
“That day, I cut ties with Reebok,” recalled Shaq. “The money you owe me, keep me
I said keep the money… this ain’t right," explained Shaq, who still wore Reebok during the season but wanted to start "my own thing" - making affordable shoes for kids.
So, he approached his "favorite store" - Walmart - and struck a deal that he says got his brand in all stores with a price point of $19-$29. Shaq says they 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," said Shaq as he recalled the financial risk he took in doing this.
LISTEN BELOW as Shaq tells the story of how he turned down a $40 million shoe deal to make a difference for the kids who looked up to him.
Incredible. And kudos to Shaq for not letting the harshness of the message (the woman cursing him) keep him from pursuing this great idea!
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