In his post-NBA life, Shaquille O’Neal has added to his fortune through investments and brand partnerships. And for his next big move, the retired baller said he wants to buy Reebok.
“Well, [Authentic Brands Group, one of the companies] I’m involved in, we just bought Sports Illustrated, but I would love to purchase Reebok,” O’Neal told CNBC on Tuesday at a Carnival Cruise event.
ABG and the basketball star have been partnered since 2015, when he sold the brand rights to his future entrepreneurial endeavors, becoming a partner with the private company in the process. (The full terms of the deal were not disclosed.)
But Shaq’s history with Reebok goes back much deeper. He has been aligned with the athleticwear company since 1992, when he signed a multiyear year deal worth $15 million. His signature sneaker, the Reebok Shaq Attaq, is a fan favorite.
O’Neal said he wants to buy the athletic giant because he dislikes how its current owner, Adidas, has “diluted [the brand] so much to where it’s almost gone.”
“If they don’t want it, let me have it,” O’Neal said. “I want to bring [Reebok] back to basketball and to fitness.”
The exact value of Reebok is unknown, but Adidas would likely want several billion dollars if it were to sell. The German sportswear company snagged Reebok in 2005 in a $3.8 billion deal.
In his pro ball career, the one-time Los Angeles Laker earned $292 million in paychecks over 19 seasons. He’s increased his earnings since retiring in 2011, through endorsement deals with brands like Icy Hot, Buick and Gold Bond. Further, Shaq owns hundreds of retail businesses, including restaurant franchises, car washes and 24-hour fitness centers.
If O’Neal were to make a real play for Reebok, he’d need to go in on it with ABG. The conglomerate’s footwear and accessories business alone totals $2 billion in retail sales per year, according to FN sister publication Women’s Wear Daily. Its total brand portfolio, excluding its licensing deals, generates nearly $8 billion in retail sales annually.
FN has reached out to Adidas and Reebok for comment.
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