Shaquille O’Neal is a man of many talents. While he may be most known as an NBA star, he also counts commentator, DJ and entrepreneur as his other titles.
Last month, FN sat down with O’Neal to discuss some of his behind-the-scenes dealings with Authentic Brands Group, the retail powerhouse and FN’s Company of the Year, which owns Forever 21, Barneys New York, JCPenney and most recently, Reebok.
For O’Neal, it’s all about having fun. He said, “We’re looking to grow, we’re looking to continue to excite people and to have fun. That’s what it’s all about. When you ask what the future holds, if we just continue to do the things that we’re doing, changing people’s lives and putting out great product, the sky’s the limit for this company.”
Below, the former baller opens up about his size 22 shoes, what he eats in a day and what he plans for his upcoming 50th birthday.
What is your current shoe size?
“Shoe size is 20 but I like to wear a 22 because when I was young we couldn’t afford proper shoes so I had to wear my shoes tight so [now] I always get my shoes too big to make sure I have room.”
What is in your closet?
“I’m building a two story closet now. I’m building a his and her closet, so hopefully there’s a her one day… I have a lot of Reeboks, a couple of Shaq brand shoes. I’m more of a slip-on guy, what Tretorn does. If I can go in my closet and throw on a nice slip-on, I’d rather do that than have to bend down and tie my shoe. My workout consists of just cardio and lifting weights. No more running, no more jumping. I’m more of a slip-on guy. Then if I have to dress up, [I’ll wear] something that is hard and leather.”
What would your NBA sneaker look like if you were playing now?
“My sneaker would be nice. I’d probably have a couple young kids design it. The fashion is different. I never knock anybody’s fashion. I have three styles: the homeboy style, which [consists of] jeans, baggy clothes, baggy shirts, baggy jackets. Then I have the athleisure style. Then I have the CEO, going to have a meeting with a guy like Jamie Salter, a nice suit, nice tie, basic colors — brown, blue, black, gray. The fashion is different. I like to say it’s all over the place. I welcome everyone to do what they do but my style is three styles. I’m Shaq, Shaquille and Dr. O’Neal.”
What is your go-to nickname these days?
“S.H.A.Q. Stands for Shaquille Has Awesome Qualities. I just try to make people smile, make people laugh.”
What do you eat in one day?
“I’m in supermodel phase. So I get up, do an hour of cardio, and then eat breakfast. I had a shake, some fruit — that was meal one. Meal two, I did two Big Chicken sandwiches. Now I have to go back to being healthy. For dinner tonight I will have salad and some fish. When I’m in healthy mode it’s chicken and fish. I like to work two months on and then one month off [from eating healthy]. When I’m off I eat whatever, burger, fries.”
You’re turning 50 next year. How are you celebrating?
“On my 50th birthday, I will be going topless on my Instagram. I have a four-pack but I can never get to the five or six-pack so I’m going to go past the four-pack and get a six and eight-pack on my 50th birthday. I’m going topless, baby oil, lotion.
Outside of basketball, you also DJ. What’s on your playlist?
“I don’t know what I’m going to play until I see the crowd. When I first started out I would say, ‘Ok I have to DJ an ABG party. They’re older, some kids, I’ll bring the classics — it never works. So I have to look and be like, ‘You’re an old guy, I’ll play some ‘Jessie’s Girl’ for you. You look like a party animal I’m going to play some Weeknd for you, and you look like you smoke marijuana, so I’m going to play Nirvana for you. I just have to look at people in the crowd and play some music.”
What do you personally listen to?
“I listen to everything. My favorite playlist now is ’80s White Guy Classics.”