By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
December 21, 2016: At 7’1”, 340 lbs., Shaquille O’Neal fills a big space no matter what the location.
O’Neal, who retired from the NBA in 2011, this year began his fifth season with Turner Sports’ NBA on TNT Inside the NBA analysis show, alongside Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley.
But that is only a piece of his current life and marketing pie.
Late last year, he signed a deal with Authentic Brands Group in New York for the rights to manage his name in endorsement and merchandise deals worldwide.
In recent months, O’Neal has signed pacts with American Express, The General (insurance), Wix (Web development) and Krispy Kreme, the latter as an owner (in Atlanta) and spokesman.
That is in addition to such alliances as Gold Bond, Icy Hot, Macy’s (men’s clothing), Zales (jewelry), Arizona Ice Tea, Sportcraft (arcade games), Zyloware Eyeware and Walmart (basketball shoes).
Industry analysts estimate he takes in close to $25 million via endorsement deals and has a net worth north of $325 million.
This year, the man whose self-bestowed nicknames include The Big Diesel, The Big Aristotle, Shaq-Daddy and Superman was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
On Dec. 22, when his one of his former teams, the Los Angeles Lakers, played another of his former teams, the Miami Heat, the Heat retired his No. 32, which he wore while teaming with Dwyane Wade in 2005 to win the NBA title. Fittingly, he worked the game as an announcer for TNT.
The Lakers, for whom he was part of three NBA championships alongside Kobe Bryant, retired his Los Angeles No. 34 in 2013. The team said a statue of Shaq — nine feet tall and weighing 1,200 lbs. — would be unveiled outside of Staples Center in March.
Shaq’s Inside the NBA trademark “Shaqtin’ A Fool” segment is a standalone hit.
This past April, he made an appearance at WWE’s WrestleMania 32. He recently invested in NRG eSports.
"Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and we’re stoked to be working with him to help encourage consumers to support small businesses this holiday season through our Shop Small for 2X Rewards campaign, as well as partner with him on our larger NBA season sponsorship plans," Brad Minor, vp-global brand partnerships and experiential marketing for American Express, said a statement.
"Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and we’re stoked to be working with him."
And, has as been his tradition for many year, O’Neal changes to Shaq-A-Claus during the holiday season to work with Toy ‘R’ Us on its Toys for Tots Program. For Clothes4Souls, he and Macy’s donated 35,000 coats "to those in need."
"In addition to Shaquille’s status as a sports and entertainment icon and businessman, he is known for spreading joy, which aligns with our positioning and mission," Tony Thompson, president and CEO for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, said in a statement. "We are confident this partnership will have a big impact for us in Atlanta and around the world."
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