Shaquille O’Neal’s venture into a $2.9 billion pizza chain has been marred by controversy


Shaquille O’Neal is an investment lure, but his collaboration with Papa John’s came after the organization was embroiled in controversy.

Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most famous NBA players of all time. Yet he has also become a household name in the mainstream media thanks to his celebrity status. All of his multi-million dollar sponsorship deals have played a significant role in his success in the business world.

According to Sports Illustrated, Shaq has received numerous endorsements over the years, including everything from a sleep apnea mask to Radio Shack, Zales, Nintendo, Taco Bell and more.

O’Neal has a long history in the business world. The 7’1″ former basketball player studied business in college. He has used his knowledge in business ventures such as Carnival Cruise Ship’s “Chief of Fun” and a celebrity spokesperson for a variety of brands.

Many of his business experiences come from the world of franchising, and his reported net worth of $400 million reflects his success in the industry.

The 49-year-old seems to have a thing for franchises. When asked by the Wall Street Journal why he finds franchising so appealing, O’Neal replied, “It’s just about collaborating with another reliable and excellent brand. Being in business with other people and just building businesses.

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Shaquille O’Neal’s investment in Papa John sparked controversy

O’Neal sparked controversy in 2019 after joining the board of Papa John’s Pizza. The NBA legend is on the board and will support Papa John’s. He has invested in some of the chain’s Atlanta locations.

According to federal securities filings, the pizza chain’s marketing portion of his endorsement deal will pay the former NBA center $4.125 million over three years.

Additionally, Papa John’s has agreed to award O’Neal 87,136 shares to vest between 2020 and 2022.

A year before O’Neal announced his intention to join Papa John’s Pizza’s board of directors, company founder John Schnatter found himself in hot water. According to Forbes, he was heard using the N-word on a conference call in 2018.

Despite the controversy, O’Neal accepted a position on the company’s board of directors. He also admitted that Schnatter’s comments were a huge mistake.

“Sometimes people don’t know when to shut up,” he said of Schnatter in a 2019 interview with CNBC. “I’m not going to argue with this guy.” It doesn’t matter what he said about me. That does not bother me. I’m determined to do [Papa John’s] the number one brand. We don’t care about him. He has bigger problems.

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