Shaq talks to GQ about Kazaam, Getting his Ph.D and His Rap Career
Former NBA superstar and current TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal sat down with GQ to discuss his business endeavors, going back to school and more. Shaq explains why he decided to sell his shoe line at more affordable stores like Walmart and K-Mart and how that ended up allowing him to sell 95 million pairs, putting right behind Jordan sales. He mentions watching Kazaam “the other day” and explaining that the movie came about when he was randomly offered $7 million to do a genie movie. I dont’ know. I’d properly take that check too. He also describes the motivation behind going back to school to get his doctorate and how he plans to infiltrate the business world in the future. He also has plenty to say about some of today’s biggest NBA stars. Check out an excerpt from the interview below.
GQ: How’d you get into rap?
Shaq: I was like, “On my way to the court I was LL Cool J, when I got to the court I was Dr. J.” So, you know, for me, it was never a money thing. It was just about opportunities and just to say that I did it. The first album went platinum, second went platinum, third gold. The fourth and fifth went “double wood,” but I did it. And I got to do it with some of the greatest, Jay-Z, Nas, Notorious B.I.G., Mobb Deep, Method Man, Redman. My dream was to be a rapper, go onstage, and to do a show. And I did that
GQ: You’re getting your doctorate in May. Why? What else do you have to gain or prove?
Shaq: I always promised my parents I would go back and get my degree. When I’m having conversations with people I want them to know that I understand. When I was in the league I would do a lot of business deals I didn’t really understand. I would have people break it down for me. I wanted to break it down myself. So it was like, “You know what? Let me get my Masters in business.” After four or five years, I got it and applied that to what I was doing. Then I was like, “You know what? Let me get my Ph.D.” Because I want to be known, from now on, as Dr. O’Neal.
GQ: What are you’re getting a doctorate in?
Shaq: HRD. Human Resources Development and Organizational Leadership.
GQ: Why leadership?
Shaq: I’ve always been a leader. Every team I’ve played on, I’ve lead my way. My first few years playing, I tried to do it the system way but if you do it the system way and it doesn’t work, you get blamed. Then I was like, “You know what, if I’m going to get blamed, I’m going to do it my way.” That’s why in L.A. we had problems. I said, “Nah we’re not doing it that way. Motherfuckers are doing it my way.” That’s why in Miami we got one and they went back and did it their way and it all fell. But, I’m a scapegoat. So, “See you later, Shaq, we’re sending you to Phoenix.” That’s why I played for so many teams. But I did it my way and I’m very proud about it. When I graduate, I’m going to take my way to corporations and get things done.
GQ: So, what’s the next thing you’re going to do after you have Dr. status?
Shaq: I’m going to go into Fortune 500 companies and teach them the better way. My dissertation was about the duality of humor and seriousness in leadership styles. I was anxious to see which leader is more effective. Right now my research shows that the humorous guy’s a little more effective than the stern guy. I’m going to be the next Tony Robbins.
Read the rest of the GQ interview.