Shaquille O'Neal made almost $300 million playing in the NBA. He also made millions and millions of dollars in endorsement deals during his time in the league and continues to make money today as a result of various business transactions. However, Shaq could have made so much more, if not for one big business blunder that he made.
Once upon a time, Shaq had a meeting with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Schultz was interested in opening up a string of Starbucks franchises in African-American communities, and he wanted Shaq to play a big part in it. But Shaq turned him down and told him he thought it was a bad idea. On the season premiere of In Depth With Graham Bensinger, which airs this weekend, Shaq talks about it.
"So Howard comes and says, 'Shaq, I wanna give you the opportunity to go in with me and open up these Starbucks franchises in African American communities,'" Shaq says during his interview with Bensinger. "And I'm always the guy that, if I don't believe in it, I can't do it. Will never do it. No amount of money can make me endorse something that I'm not 100 percent behind. So I looked in the great Howard Schultz's face and said, 'Black people don't drink coffee, sir. I don't think it's gonna work.' You should have seen his face. He was like…alright. We're still good friends today, but that was one of my worst business decisions."
Shaq has actually told this story before. In his 2011 book, Shaq Uncut, he talked about how he told Schultz that he didn't drink coffee during their meeting and that it ultimately cost him the chance to work with Starbucks.
"The truth was," he wrote, "I'd never seen black people drink coffee. I thought it was a white person's drink."
Can you imagine how much money Shaq lost because of this? Fortunately, we think he's going to be just fine financially. But still, he could have made so many millions of dollars with Starbucks. That has to hurt.
You can check out a preview of Shaq's interview with Bensinger here:
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