- Shaq has made hundreds of millions thanks to his historic basketball career and shaq-net-worth-jeff-bezos-investment-strategy-2019-7″ data-analytics-product-module=”summary_bullets”>business exploits.
- The NBA legend is known to pass on his good fortune to others through random acts of kindness.
- He told Insider how the philosophy behind his giving has helped save a relationship and make him “Uncle Shaq” to kids.
Shaquille O’Neal has earned more money than he could ever possibly spend thanks to his iconic basketball career and his lucrative business moves after retirement.
And now, he’s become known for passing on his good fortune to others through random acts of kindness.
“This is what I was taught — it’s not a charity thing for me,” O’Neal told Insider.
“I’m not the guy that sits around and goes ‘Let’s go build something and then call the media,'” he added. “That’s never been me.”
Instead, the Hall of Famer often opts for more subtle ways of giving back — though, at 7-foot-1, it’s rare that he can get away with moving in the shadows.
In 2021, a video of Shaq purchasing an engagement ring for an unsuspecting Zales customer went viral even though he says he didn’t mean for it to get out.
A part of that well-told tale that actually didn’t get out — until now, at least — was the fact that the young man “got his dates mixed up,” according to O’Neal.
“I think he had one more payment, but he told his girlfriend that he was gonna propose to her the next day,” O’Neal said. “So he’s talking to the manager, saying ‘Hey man, you know me, I always pay on time. Just let me take the ring and I’ll bring it back.’ And the manager was like ‘No, no, no.'”
“I know how it is, engaged, married, you want everything to be right, so I couldn’t let him go like that,” he added. “Imagine going to that engagement thing without that ring.”
—ESPN (@espn) April 7, 2021
Not only did Shaq save a man some serious money that day, but he also may very well have saved his relationship.
These run-ins happen relatively frequently for the four-time NBA champion, though he insists he doesn’t seek them out. He jokes that he’s just “the money guy” and that he becomes “Uncle Shaq” whenever he has the chance to help a kid out.
If he finds himself in a Best Buy, for example, and he hears a parent and child discussing laptop options, Shaq often offers to pay for the one the kid wants.
Shaq gives back through more official means as well. Most recently, The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation teamed up with Icy Hot to build new facilities — including a basketball court, turf field, and tennis court — at his own Boys & Girls Club location in the Atlanta area.
These days, Shaq calls Georgia’s state capital home. But growing up in Newark, New Jersey, he credited his local Boys & Girls Club with helping him to “stay out of trouble” and lay the groundwork for a successful future in basketball and beyond.
It was only natural that he’d try to offer the same refuge for kids within his community.
“I know I’m lucky, I know I’m blessed, and I realize that there’s harder working people in this world than me that don’t have the financial benefits that I have. So I just always try to put myself in that position,” he said.
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