Shaquille O’Neal (@SHAQ) has been retired from basketball for years, but he’s still got his irons in plenty of fires. Here, we’ll discuss everything from superheroes to law enforcement to business to sports to podcasting to — yes — the Flat Earth Theory. [Note: This is a previously broadcast episode from the vault that we felt deserved a fresh pass through your earholes!]
What We Discuss with Shaquille O’Neal:
- The real-world experience Shaq endured preparing for a political race in 2020.
- How Shaq assembled what he calls The Panel to help manage not only his career but all his important life decisions — and how you can do the same.
- Why Shaq doesn’t consider himself a celebrity (and why that still isn’t a good reason to bug him in the middle of dinner).
- How Shaq manages his emotions so he stays non-reactive on and off the court.
- Does Shaq really believe in the Flat Earth Theory?
- And much more…
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Whether you know him as Dr. Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal, Shaq, The Big Aristotle, Hobo Master, The Diesel, Shaq Fu, The Big Daddy, Superman, The Big Agave, The Big Cactus, The Big Shaqtus, The Big Galactus, Wilt Chamberneezy, The Big Baryshnikov, The Real Deal, The Big Shamrock, The Big Leprechaun, Shaqovic, The Big Conductor, or Mr. O’Neal (if you’re nasty), there’s no denying this man has seen a lot in his 45 years — and he shows no signs of slowing down. Shaq (let’s keep it simple) joins us to talk about everything from superheroes to law enforcement to business to sports to podcasting to — yes — the Flat Earth Theory.
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Shaq got in trouble by impersonating The Incredible Hulk as a kid, what he did to prepare for a run as sheriff in 2020, how he assembled The Panel to keep him on the right path in business and personal matters, why he doesn’t consider himself a celebrity, what his father taught him about good parenting, how he answers the call to competition in a fun and playful way, thoughts on leadership, how Dr. J changed his life, being a real model vs. a role model, the turning point that changed him from bully to class clown, what he really thinks about the Flat Earth Theory, and lots more. Listen, learn, and enjoy! [Note: This is a previously broadcast episode from the vault that we felt deserved a fresh pass through your earholes!]
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Miss the show we did with the late and sorely missed Kobe Bryant — basketball legend, family man, and multimedia mogul? Catch up here with episode 249: Kobe Bryant | Dissecting the Mamba Mentality!
Thanks, Shaquille O’Neal!
If you enjoyed this session with Shaquille O’Neal, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
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Resources from This Episode:
- Shaq Uncut: My Story by Shaquille O’Neal and Jackie MacMullan | Amazon
- The Big Podcast with Shaq
- Shaquille O’Neal | Facebook
- Shaquille O’Neal | Instagram
- Shaquille O’Neal | Twitter
691: Shaquille O’Neal | Circling Back on Flat Earth Theory
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to the new Starbucks Baya Energy drink for sponsoring this episode. With caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit, it's energy that's good.
[00:00:07] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:10] Shaquille O’Neal: I've won on every level except college. So as a youngster, when I used to play and win, he would let me celebrate the trophy one day. I come home after school and he'd be gone and he was the type you never asked him where's the trophy at. So I finally asked when I got older and he said, "I did it, because I never want you to be satisfied. I want you to always want more as a player." So even as a youngster, when I was a player and I wasn't that good, that wasn't stopping me. Because I knew that because of my work ethic, I was going to be somebody.
[00:00:44] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating. We have in-depth conversations with scientists and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional organized crime figure, war correspondent, money-laundering expert, or neuroscientist. Each episode turns our guest's wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
[00:01:10] If you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about it — and thank you for doing that — I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of some of our favorite episodes organized by topic. They'll help new listeners get a taste of what we do here on the show — topics like disinformation and cyber warfare, persuasion and influence, China, North Korea, scams and conspiracies, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:36] All right, everybody, today another one from the vault. We're talking with The Big Aristotle, The Hobo Master, The Diesel, Shaq Fu, Big Daddy, Superman, The Big Agave, The Big Cactus, The Big Shaqtus, The Big Galactus, Wilt Chamberneezy, The Big Baryshnikov, The Real Deal, The Big Shamrock, The Big Leprechaun, Shaqovich, The Big Conductor, all right, we're talking with Shaquille O'Neal. I was curious how people at his level make important decisions. It turns out he's assembled a panel to help him manage not only his career but all of his important life decisions and strategy direction. We're going to explore how you can do the same, also how Shaq manages his emotions. So he stays non-reactive both on and off the court and life is one of the most visible people on the planet. I mean, you really can't miss Shaq, even in a giant crowd. And what's that like living day to day, right? Hope you all enjoy this episode from the vault with Shaquille O'Neal.
[00:02:31] You're a Marvel fan then I'm guessing.
[00:02:33] Shaquille O’Neal: Superman.
[00:02:34] Jordan Harbinger: Superman.
[00:02:34] Shaquille O’Neal: Not Marvel. Yeah. Like growing up as a medium juvenile delinquent, I was always on punishment. At least I had the opportunity to watch TV and just see superheroes and get entrenched inside the stories that they were telling. Superman was always one. Six Million Dollar Man was another one. I always wanted to be him. Hulk was another one. I got in trouble for being a Hulk one time.
[00:02:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:02:56] Shaquille O’Neal: One time we saw a car that we thought was abandoned but it wasn't. It was just stolen. It was just sitting there. So me and my friend — I played the Hulk and I ripped off the mirrors. I just ripped off the doors. I ripped off everything. I got in really big trouble for that one.
[00:03:10] Jordan Harbinger: How did they know it was you that did all the damage instead of the person who stole the car?
[00:03:14] Shaquille O’Neal: Because everybody was out there watching me.
[00:03:15] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, everybody saw it.
[00:03:16] Shaquille O’Neal: I was going, "The Hulk," and I took a brick and bust some windows. And then when the guy found his car, he was like, "Who did this?" It was like, "Shaquille O'Neal. He did it." And he came right to my house.
[00:03:27] Jordan Harbinger: You're like, "But some other guy, he scratched up your lock really good when he stole the car."
[00:03:31] Shaquille O’Neal: Exactly.
[00:03:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, so Marvel and the Superman appealed to you. It seems weird punishment to put you in a place where you can watch TV and read comics and hang out and watch The Six Million Dollar Man. Well, you accomplished that goal. You got a lot more than six million dollars out of it.
[00:03:45] Shaquille O’Neal: It actually changed my life. You know, it helped me put down on paper, what I wanted to become. So just say I'm flicking the channels and I see LL Cool J, I want to be a rapper. Say flick the channel again, I see a guy doing a great sitcom, I want to be an actor. Then, of course, I'm a sports guy, I want to be Frank O'Hara, the Immaculate Conception. I want to be Reggie Jackson, hit a home run. So it enabled me to put down on paper, all these things I wanted to be. And then my father taught me the way and said, "Okay, you want to be all these things? This is how you do it. Go out and get it done." I've accomplished everything that I set my mind to.
[00:04:21] Jordan Harbinger: So wait, you wrote down all your goals when you were younger?
[00:04:24] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes. Yes. My father made me write from A to Z what I wanted to be. So A was a basketball player, B was a basketball player — I actually got in trouble for that.
[00:04:31] Jordan Harbinger: You just put basketball player for all the five down to 26?
[00:04:33] Shaquille O’Neal: No, no. And then C was a cop, and then D was a detective, E was an entrepreneur and F was a fireman. So like, I just did like a whole bunch of things that I thought I wanted to do.
[00:04:45] Jordan Harbinger: And you've gone through and tried to knock all that stuff off the bucket list.
[00:04:49] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes.
[00:04:49] Jordan Harbinger: Because I made a list of things that you were doing before, but I figured I would ask now because it seems like there's a lot of things that you've done. I mean, why law enforcement what's going on there? Why that?
[00:05:00] Shaquille O’Neal: Two guys that are on my panel — what I mean by my panel, my panel is a group of five men and women consist of a total of five, both men and women. Two of the guys that are on my panel are my uncles from law enforcement. My panel consists of Lucille O'Neal, Mike Paris, Jerome Crawford, Dale Brown, and Perry Rogers. That's my panel. They're the only ones that can call me and check me. And I know not to say anything back.
[00:05:28] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:05:29] Shaquille O’Neal: Because I know they love me and they care for me. And you know when you respect somebody, see a lot of people in my position think they know it all.
[00:05:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:05:36] Shaquille O’Neal: They don't have anybody they can respect. I have a panel. It's like me being the president, but I answer to Congress. So that's my panel. But two guys on the panel are my uncles and they're law enforcement officers. So I said to myself one day — and you know this was on my list as a youngster. I said, one day I want to be a cop, but I don't think, you know, with me being Shaq, me being a cop probably wouldn't be too good, but I think I could lead a force. I want to run for sheriff. So when I started pursuing that here in Los Angeles, like a lot of people would give me badges and I was like, "You know what, if you give me a badge when I go out on the street, the officer's not going to respect me." So I made them put me through two different police academies. Sheriff Leroy Baca was the sheriff at the time and he approved it and I had to go through two different academies and I became a full-fledged reserve officer level one. Level three is security guard status. Level two is you have to ride with another officer. Level one, you could ride by yourself. You have full-fledged police officer duties. And I studied to a level one and I did that because when I do run for sheriff, I know I could probably get a lot of votes just from being Shaq.
[00:06:43] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:06:43] Shaquille O’Neal: But I really want my people working for me to know and understand I know my laws. I know what you go through. I know what it takes. I want them to know and understand that. And I've been to a lot of places around the country with a lot of police officers and they were like, "You know, we really, really appreciate it." Because I appreciate them. You know, teachers and police officers are definitely underpaid.
[00:07:05] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. My mom was a teacher—
[00:07:07] Shaquille O’Neal: They're all underpaid.
[00:07:07] Jordan Harbinger: —so I heard all about that.
[00:07:08] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. They're all underpaid.
[00:07:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I mean, well, you're underpaid for a cop. You're taking a dollar a year, right?
[00:07:12] Shaquille O’Neal: Yep, dollar a year.
[00:07:13] Jordan Harbinger: I guess—
[00:07:14] Shaquille O’Neal: You know what's crazy? They tax that.
[00:07:16] Jordan Harbinger: Of course. Yeah. So you get—?
[00:07:17] Shaquille O’Neal: 46 cents.
[00:07:18] Jordan Harbinger: Really? Oh my god, because of the bracket. Yeah, that makes sense.
[00:07:21] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[00:07:22] Jordan Harbinger: What have you learned on the job that you've been able to use or what have you learned on the team anyway, maybe that you've been able to use as a police officer? Like de-escalation techniques and getting along with people and stuff like that.
[00:07:31] Shaquille O’Neal: Well, I always come in at zero. A lot of times when you're dealing with people, you just listen first instead of react. And a lot of situations are dangerous, so you have to come in high but a lot of situations where it's just people there talking and arguing, you just try to eff it. You just try to deescalate the situation. You know, the fortunate thing for me is when I show up people just calm down automatically. So that's a fortunate thing for me.
[00:07:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:53] Shaquille O’Neal: For me, it was just about learning it, mastering it. So when I do run for sheriff, the guys know I'm not just a celebrity figure.
[00:08:02] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:02] Shaquille O’Neal: That wants a badge and a gun. So I went to LA Academy, did a Florida Academy, did a Phoenix Academy, getting ready to go through Georgia Academy because I plan on running for sheriff in either Georgia or Florida in 2020.
[00:08:17] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:08:18] Shaquille O’Neal: I had a dream that I saw a bunch of stickers on the cars, "Shaq's vision for 2020, Shaq for Sheriff 2020."
[00:08:24] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. So you're actually going to run for office?
[00:08:27] Shaquille O’Neal: I'm thinking about it, yeah. I'm really thinking about it.
[00:08:29] Jordan Harbinger: And what sort of policy do you think you'll put in place as the elected sheriff?
[00:08:34] Shaquille O’Neal: It'll be paramilitary—
[00:08:36] Jordan Harbinger: Marshall law all around.
[00:08:37] Shaquille O’Neal: No, not martial law.
[00:08:38] Jordan Harbinger: I'm just kidding. I hope not.
[00:08:39] Shaquille O’Neal: Just, you know, discipline. There's a friend of mine in Clayton County, Sheriff Victor Hill. And I met him a couple of months ago. He has the cleanest, most disciplined jail I've ever seen in my life. I'm definitely going to get to know him a little better, study his tactics because that's how I grew up. And, you know, teaches young men and women that are in there, teaches them how to be responsible, teaches them honor. And you know, he does it in a polite way. There's nothing crazy in there, but it's just so much like his floors were shining and the pods in the cells, the clothes were folded. And when he walks in, the guys, standing at attention—
[00:09:16] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:09:16] Shaquille O’Neal: —and they salute. It was really awesome to see. Because I've been to jails where people, you know, seven, eight guys in cell, they're in there fighting and doing this and doing that. But his jail was very disciplined. So I'm definitely going to be studying his techniques.
[00:09:29] Jordan Harbinger: I think a lot of people would definitely vote for you because of the celebrity, but it's good that you're trying to earn the same respect as the other officers. Otherwise, you end up with the same problem that people have now. We have a lack of real authority. What happens when you show up to a call with other people there? I mean, did they just go, "Holy crap, it's Shaq." Are there people who don't know who you are? And they're just like, "Dang. That's a big cop."
[00:09:50] Shaquille O’Neal: At first, when I was on patrol in LA, you know, it got to be sort like a TV sitcom. Like I'd pull up everybody, "Is that Shaq?" And see guys coming across the street and calling on the phone and I got promoted to detective. So a lot of times when I show up at detective, people think it's a joke or not.
[00:10:08] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:10:08] Shaquille O’Neal: So what I started doing was as a detective, when we go on four or five detectives, I would come in last. I let all the real cops go first, let everybody know what's going on. So everybody knows it's a serious moment. And then I would come in because if I would come in first, people will say, "Shaq, hey, I saw you got the game."
[00:10:24] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. Where's the cameras?
[00:10:26] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes, exactly.
[00:10:27] Jordan Harbinger: How often do you hear comments about your height? And I assume all the time, right?
[00:10:30] Shaquille O’Neal: All the time. I learned at an early age, not to take things so seriously.
[00:10:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah?
[00:10:36] Shaquille O’Neal: I hear jokes. Like, How's the weather up there?" I hear it all.
[00:10:40] Jordan Harbinger: I'm glad I didn't start with that.
[00:10:41] Shaquille O’Neal: And I'm at the point in my life now, where I've actually been here a long time, nothing really hurt my feelings. I think the times we live in, people are very sensitive. Like, I don't know you, but I'm sure if we just have a good conversation — and again, when having a conversation, we don't have to agree on everything.
[00:10:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:10:57] Shaquille O’Neal: I respect you. You respect me. I guarantee we have something in common. See a lot of people these days, you think a certain way, and you try to influence me to think that way. The world wasn't built like that. Every fingerprint is different. Every DNA is different and everybody's opinion is different. And a lot of times we react to people's opinions without listening.
[00:11:18] True story, it's a guy, fashion guy, dresses kind of life, it was Jimmy Goldstein, I think is his name. He told me one day during the game. I hate you.
[00:11:28] Jordan Harbinger: What? Oh, that's rude.
[00:11:29] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, no, he said, "I hate you." So I'm boom, boom, boom, boom. But I would see him at all the parties with us. Boom, boom, boom. So finally, I said — he's a small guy. Usually when the guys say, "I hate you." I want to go, "Okay. Well, I hate you too. Let's fight about it." He's a real skinny guy. So I asked him, I said, "Why do you hate me?" He said, "Because you're so dominant. It's unfair. I want to see you lose." So rather than reacting, but what he said by me having a conversation, I understood that. I can understand you're a fan. You want your team to win, but you're going up against this guy, Shaq that's throwing people around. I can understand the hatred. So that was a valuable lesson for me because like when people say something, my reaction button is off, my intelligent button is on. "Okay. What did you say? What do you mean?" And I analyze it and I analyze it in a nice way before I react.
[00:12:16] Jordan Harbinger: How do you do that especially when you — did you do that when you were 22, 23 years old?
[00:12:20] Shaquille O’Neal: No.
[00:12:20] Jordan Harbinger: No.
[00:12:21] Shaquille O’Neal: When I was 22, 23, I tried to answer everybody's criticism and I realized that it's more than a full-time job. It becomes stressful. I started getting anxiety and then I realized that you can't please everyone. You know this is the same thing I tell my children now. I say, "You see your hands, five fingers on your hand. Try to impress the five most important people in your life." That's my panel. So as long as they're happy, I'm happy. Like whenever I start doing something crazy, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 will let me know. And then I have to switch you back up.
[00:12:53] Jordan Harbinger: How did you pick the panel? I mean, one is your mother.
[00:12:55] Shaquille O’Neal: One is my mother. Two are my uncles. They always kept me out of trouble.
[00:12:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:59] Shaquille O’Neal: And Perry is my agent, business manager, been that for a long time. And Perry is brutally honest. He's not one of those KYA-type agents. I don't know if I can say kiss your ass on your podcast.
[00:13:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you can. Sure.
[00:13:12] Shaquille O’Neal: He's not one of those agents. So like, he'll tell you like, "What you said last night was on call for. Boom, boom, boom." He's very, very intelligent. He's a lawyer. You know, lawyers think very different. So, you know, he wants the best for me. And it's something that I appreciate and respect. Crazy thing about Perry, we're similar ages, so like he's probably the youngest guy in the panel. He's around my age but very intelligent, come from very intelligent family. Father was a brilliant businessman, mother was a brilliant businesswoman. You know, when you respect people, you listen to them, especially people that help you get to where you are.
[00:13:47] Jordan Harbinger: How did you pick — when did you pick that panel? I should say. Did you pick it before your career started and everything?
[00:13:53] Shaquille O’Neal: No. Never, never. I had to go through a lot of trials and tribulations before I figured all this stuff out. You know, experience is the best teacher and I had my basic core principles. I stay true to myself, have fun, never take advantage of people, never disrespect people. And then as I started getting older, I started adding more business, you know, practical things inside that formula. And then I realized — a movie that changed my life was The Fan, Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes. Robert De Niro asked Wesley said, "You're a great player. You do this, you do that. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom." Wesley Snipes said, "I don't care." So I had to stop caring, not caring to the sense to where it would affect my profession, but just stop caring about what people say. Once I start doing that, pshh, blossomed.
[00:14:43] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. So you actually went through a phase where you just went, "It doesn't matter."
[00:14:47] Shaquille O’Neal: I cared about everything.
[00:14:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I cared about everything.
[00:14:49] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, like the only thing Shaq can do is dunk. He can't shoot jumpers." So then the next game, I go three for 25 trying to shoot jumpers.
[00:14:56] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:14:57] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[00:14:57] Jordan Harbinger: So you're just always challenging yourself to figure out—
[00:15:00] Shaquille O’Neal: Always, always.
[00:15:01] Jordan Harbinger: And you've been successful for a long time. How come you didn't fall into those same traps as a lot of other athletes did? Is it the panel? Was that early enough?
[00:15:08] Shaquille O’Neal: The panel and before the panel — a lot of children don't do this today, but when I see tragic stories, I don't want to go that route. One tragic story, when Len Bias passed away from using cocaine, my father came in the house, furious, furious. "If you ever do this, I'll kill you. You ain't going to have time to overdose. I'll kill you." So I always say, "You know what? No drugs for me."
[00:15:33] One time, true story in Germany, West Germany, friends — this is around, you know, when you're a teenager and you get to go to parties—
[00:15:41] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:15:41] Shaquille O’Neal: You know, the parents are sleeping when you come home. All the friends were into beer drinking.
[00:15:45] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:15:46] Shaquille O’Neal: Hey, let's drink some beer. So one night, snowstorm — because where I lived in a while flicking the schools, the four of us — so it was about a 50-minute ride. So one time we go to the dance and the guys had a beer and one of the guys had his license. His dad was out of town. He took his car like, "Hey, let's ride home." And the guys were drinking and I was like, "You know what? You know, I heard a lot of stories about what happened." And a tragic ending, they died.
[00:16:10] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:16:10] Shaquille O’Neal: Crashed into a tree.
[00:16:11] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. So that could have been you real easy.
[00:16:13] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, it could have been me. So like a lot of things I've seen before they happened. And I don't want to go down that rope. My father used to always come in and say, "All right, you had 30 points, but what are you going to do when you hurt your knee? Because it's an astonishing percentage of athletes that after they're done playing, they have nothing. And we didn't want to be part of that statistic."
[00:16:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. 60 percent are broke.
[00:16:37] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[00:16:37] Jordan Harbinger: I think within five years of retirement or something like that.
[00:16:40] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[00:16:41] Jordan Harbinger: It's really sad. I mean, you don't have that problem. You're still working probably because you got six kids. You got to work. You can't retire.
[00:16:47] Shaquille O’Neal: Definitely I got to work.
[00:16:49] Jordan Harbinger: How did you deal with not only becoming the most valuable player or visible player in the league, but also a celebrity at the same time? I mean, a lot of guys are going through the same visibility role, but you had all kinds of things going. How come it didn't get out of control?
[00:17:02] Shaquille O’Neal: I think it just never got out of control because even to this day I don't consider myself a celebrity. My story is like a Rocky story. A guy from the neighborhood that's loved and respected in the neighborhood, had an opportunity to do something, do something for a community or do something for a state or do something for a nation. That's my story. My story is not superstar, entourage, 50 agents, hundred diamond chains. That's my story is a regular guy. See me, I'm in the car by myself today. I'm in LA by myself. I go to a lot of cities. I go to countries by myself. I don't consider myself a superstar. And when people come up to me, especially children, I always got to take care of the children. I just try to accommodate them. Unless I'm eating, when I'm in the middle of the meal, I'd rather not be interrupted, but if I'm out and I see a little baby and they want my autograph, of course, I always oblige them. But I think what's made me relevant in all these situations is that I don't consider myself a superstar, just a regular guy from the neighborhood that did something astonishing and won three champions in LA, one in Miami. You know, he was a guy, he was always in trouble. He was a juvenile delinquent. We knew he could be somebody. That's more of my story.
[00:18:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's great. Especially if you're not thinking of yourself as—
[00:18:20] Shaquille O’Neal: Right.
[00:18:20] Jordan Harbinger: —somebody extra special all the time.
[00:18:22] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, no, I don't do that.
[00:18:22] Jordan Harbinger: It manages the expectations pretty well. I think too, and you've always approached even basketball as a business. And so was your panel advising you on that? And I'm sticking with the panel thing because I think it's such a great idea. And most people are not doing this. Clearly, the athletes that are going broke are not doing this.
[00:18:36] Shaquille O’Neal: When I first came in, I was upset before I came in because I got an F in marketing. Marketing teacher at LSU said, "Give me something, product something, that you can see sold in the future. Not now, 2000, 2000, blah, blah, blah all that." So you know me, I came with Shaq hats, Shaq shoes, Shaq shirts. And he embarrassed me in class. He said, "Oh, I see you put a lot of originality in this," and gave me an F in front of everybody. And I asked him, "So why did you do that?" He said, "If you look at the nature of marketing in NBA, big guys never sell." I was like, "You know what? Don't sell."
[00:19:13] So when I first got in — you know, you hear a lot of stories that the number one pick can name whatever he wants. So when I first got in, I was like, you know, let me try this theory. "I want this, I want this. I want to be able to have creative control over all my commercials or I'm not doing it." So my agent at the time, he got it done. So every commercial that we shot, my thought process is, "Okay, this is how I want people to see me. This is the message I want to send. And at the end of all these commercials, I want to add a fun aspect to it."
[00:19:44] And I derived that mentality because I'm looking at all the commercials like, big guys don't sell. My favorite commercial was the Spuds MacKenzie commercial. He never talked.
[00:19:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:19:53] Shaquille O’Neal: Dog never said anything, but why did this dog have shirts, mugs, hats, everything, book, bags? because he always added a fun element in his commercial. So I was like, "You know what? Every commercial I'll do got to have a fun element in it. A product is a product but after that, I'm going to give them, like this in the Buick.
[00:20:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:20:11] Shaquille O’Neal: Or a man up, or, you know, something.
[00:20:16] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Shaquille O'Neal. We'll be right back.
[00:20:21] This episode is sponsored in part by 1st Art Gallery. One of the coolest things on our wall right now is a custom hand-painted portrait of the family done by 1st Art Gallery. Usually, these are for like bougie, you know, old money people you thought, right? Like to have a painting of yourself, I don't have a pocket watch or a pipe going on in the painting though. Using a photo we shared, they hand-painted a portrait of the family. They totally nailed it. 1st Art Gallery has a team of world-class artists that will create a hand-painted portrait from any photo. You get it in as little as two weeks. You can even provide feedback as they progress. Really kind of a cool, special gift idea as well. Plus, if you don't love the final painting, they'll refund your money guaranteed. They also do hand-made reproductions of famous paintings like the Mona Lisa, Starry Night, or literally any other painting, which I think is otherwise known as a forgery, but I absolutely loved my painting of me. And right now, there's a limited-time offer. Get $35 off your painting. That's right, $35 off, free shipping. To get the special offer, text the word, Jordan to 69-000. Yeah, you just text Jordan to 69-000, text the word Jordan to 69-000 and celebrate the moments that matter most with a beautiful hand-made portrait. Terms apply. Available at 1st-art-gallery.com/terms. Here's the number again, text the word Jordan to 69-000 for a $35 discount code today.
[00:21:35] This episode is also sponsored by Better Help online therapy. You're going through a rough time. I have been there and no matter how big or small of a situation, I've always sought the help of a therapist to help me navigate through this stuff. If you're on the fence, take this as a sign to try it out and prioritize your mental health. All of Better Help's therapists are licensed professional therapists. They take privacy very seriously. So you can be anonymous. You don't have to leave the house to talk to a Better Help therapist, which with how much gas prices are these days, man, it'll probably save you a ton of money. Connect by video or phone and even text your therapist at any time. Sometimes, it's just helpful defense in a judgment-free zone or to somebody you don't have to see at dinner later. Plus it's much more affordable than in-person therapy. You also can get matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. Better Help wants to make sure you find a therapist that works for you. So you can always switch therapists at no additional charge.
[00:22:25] Jen Harbinger: And our listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:22:33] Jordan Harbinger: Hey, if you're wondering how I manage to book all these amazing folks on the show, it is because of my network and you don't get shacked for an hour without a good network. I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. This course is about improving your networking and connection skills, of course, but it's also about inspiring others to develop a personal and professional relationship with you. It'll make you a better networker, a better connector, and most importantly, a better thinker. That's jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests on our show subscribe and/or contribute to that course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:23:08] Now back to Shaquille O'Neal.
[00:23:12] How are you going to teach your kids some of the same values that you had with your panel growing up? I mean, do your kids have panels and stuff like that?
[00:23:19] Shaquille O’Neal: They don't have panels. I try to do, lead by example. I try to teach them the same life lessons that I was taught. Yesterday, we're at the mall. My son said, "I want to get some Jordans." I said, "Well, you going to have to donate 10 pairs of your old shoes." "I already did that." I said, "Well, you need to prove it to me." And he actually did, him and my other son, they went down to the Goodwill and just donated their stuff. And we used to do that as a youngster. Like my father, we used to go to Goodwill and pick up some stuff and take it to all the other families that were lesser fortunate. My father always loved homeless people. I love homeless people. My grandmother was a nurse, so my mother and I started a foundation. We've sent over a hundred nurses to college, four-year scholarships. So I just try to lead by example and I don't put pressure on them. Like I got a couple of sons that play ball. We don't even talk basketball. It's not important to me. What's important to me, that they build what I started.
[00:24:20] One of my favorite nepotism stories is Nick and Micky Arison. So an article comes out in the paper that Nick Arison's grandmother left him 100, 200 million. This guy is 19, he went to college at Duke and graduated.
[00:24:35] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:24:35] Shaquille O’Neal: So he comes and joins the team. This guy that's worth 200 million is cleaning up the locker room. I'm looking at him like this kid should be up hanging out with his dad because—
[00:24:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:24:46] Shaquille O’Neal: —here, that's what you see.
[00:24:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Sure.
[00:24:48] Shaquille O’Neal: There's a lot of kids that hanging out with dad and dad does everything for them, but you had a kid worth 200 million. This document, his grandmother left him 150 million plus 20 percent of the team.
[00:24:58] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:24:59] Shaquille O’Neal: He's down in the locker room, cleaning up. Next year, you see him in marketing and then you see him doing — you see him outside, boom, boom, boom, handing out flyers. And then finally about five, six years, I think he went to school and graduated and learned the business from the bottom., Then his father said, "Okay, boom," and I think he made him vice president. That's one of my favorite nepotism stories. And I have to do the same thing. You know, rather than just give it to them. Like I tell my kids all the time, "You get no degrees, then you get none of my cheese." That's my slogan around my house. So no degrees, no cheese.
[00:25:32] Jordan Harbinger: They're all looking forward to college then.
[00:25:34] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. Yeah. They got to be.
[00:25:35] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned shoes earlier, you got the biggest pair of TOMS shoes that I've ever seen. And I thought, "All right, where do you get shoes that big? You have to have things custom made."
[00:25:44] Shaquille O’Neal: I fell in love with TOMS about three years ago. I see people wearing one. I was like, "What is that?" And his story is incredible. "You buy a pair, we'll donate a pair." I love that story. So every person that I — how can I get the TOMS? They give a number. It didn't work. Give a number, didn't work. But finally, about two years later, I've seen the owner of TOMS, him and his wife. We met in Westwood and I said, "Listen, I love your product. How can I get a pair?" He's like, "Shaq, to be honest with you, we don't have the 22 mold. I can't slow production down to make one shoe." And I said, "Well, what's a good production day." He said, "About a thousand pair." I said, "Well, make me a thousand pair then." So I got a thousand pair that I ordered. I'm only into my first hundred and we're in discussions. We want to go to like one of these third world countries and hand out some shoes.
[00:26:33] Jordan Harbinger: Find people with huge feet who need shoes?
[00:26:35] Shaquille O’Neal: No, no, not huge feet, just whoever.
[00:26:36] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, got you.
[00:26:37] Shaquille O’Neal: Kids, old ladies, babies, yeah.
[00:26:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. TOMS is the right company to do that with.
[00:26:41] Shaquille O’Neal: That's for sure.
[00:26:42] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds like in the past you've been competitive with pretty much everything. Not just basketball. I've read an article online. I think it might have been on Reddit, so articles using it loosely — but you have the biggest bed in the world. And then someone challenged you and said, "No, I think my bed's bigger." So you doubled the size of your bed?
[00:26:57] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes, that's true. I'm very, very competitive. It's all about having fun.
[00:27:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:02] Shaquille O’Neal: It's all about having fun. I'm the doctor, the ambassador, the emperor of fun. Nobody has more fun than me and our fun is genuine. It's not — I've been a class clown since elementary school. The fun that I'm having now, I used to get in trouble for, as a youngster, but it's called having a sense of humor. I don't take myself too seriously and you know, it's just interacting with people. And some guy, he tried to make a bed and I just had to double my bed and I have more space. So if I have to make my whole room a bed, I will.
[00:27:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's why they call it a bedroom, right?
[00:27:35] Shaquille O’Neal: Exactly.
[00:27:36] Jordan Harbinger: You had some beefs in the past from that competitive spirit, when there's a conflict on a team, how do you address that and then move towards the goal?
[00:27:43] Shaquille O’Neal: It's never beefs. My whole concept was it could only be one leader and you can't be a good leader if your followers don't trust and respect you, right? So I always had to make sure I was doing everything right before I challenged anybody. And then a lot of times — like for example, the Kobe situation. I knew Kobe could take it. And I knew that if you upset him, he's sort of like me, he'll try to prove you're wrong. Crazy thing about is people always say, "Oh, well, don't you wish you and Kobe could have worked out." We did work out, won three out of four.
[00:28:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:16] Shaquille O’Neal: Like, I don't understand — like, I don't understand your question. It'd be a better story if we played together for eight years and have no championships.
[00:28:23] Jordan Harbinger: Would you like that story better?
[00:28:24] Shaquille O’Neal: No.
[00:28:25] Jordan Harbinger: I don't think so.
[00:28:26] Shaquille O’Neal: We got a better story, but the keyword is respect. Like me and you could have a respectful disagreement. I'm not going to beat you up. Like, I was never going to beat him up. And I'm like, "Do this, do that. No, you do it, do that." And we have a conversation and then you just move on.
[00:28:41] Jordan Harbinger: Do you regret at all hazing Yao Ming so hard and stuff like that?
[00:28:44] Shaquille O’Neal: I wasn't hazing him. I kind of got in trouble for doing something one time, but I wasn't making fun of him. As a youngster, that's what we saw.
[00:28:51] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:28:51] Shaquille O’Neal: We saw—
[00:28:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:28:53] Shaquille O’Neal: —that so—
[00:28:53] Jordan Harbinger: The Chinese, the man of the Chinese. Yeah.
[00:28:55] Shaquille O’Neal: I was just trying to be cute and cool. And somebody took it and—
[00:29:00] Jordan Harbinger: You're a racist now.
[00:29:01] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. I'm like, "What are you talking?" But there's not a racist bone in my body.
[00:29:05] Jordan Harbinger: He didn't seem to mind. Everybody else cared, except for him.
[00:29:07] Shaquille O’Neal: You know what? Where I'm from, every Saturday, we watch Chinese theater. And that ain't making fun. It's actually showing respect. You want to fight like—
[00:29:17] Jordan Harbinger: The kung-fu movies?
[00:29:18] Shaquille O’Neal: That's why I came up with the name Shaq Fu. I used to be in the house practicing that stuff. And like, I would get a white towel, act like I had a white beard. I love Chinese people. So, you know, sometimes you have to be careful and I understand like some people are very, very sensitive and you just have to be careful with how you word things sometimes.
[00:29:37] Jordan Harbinger: You'd mentioned that you could not get in Hakeem's head. Why do you think that is? Why could you not get into his head?
[00:29:42] Shaquille O’Neal: I think I showed him too much respect. We had the same agent at one time and he was just a nice guy and I didn't want to hurt my friend.
[00:29:49] Jordan Harbinger: Gotcha.
[00:29:50] Shaquille O’Neal: And he kind of set me up because during the regular season I was having my way with him. So when we got to the finals that year in Orlando, I was real arrogant. We had 10 days off, was doing things all wrong. We were flying to Atlanta, partying, flying. Like it was out of control. We had a mini parade because we thought we're going to win. Because I thought we're going to win it. And then he just turned that switch on me and I couldn't get him to turn off.
[00:30:12] Jordan Harbinger: So it seems like he didn't have any Hakeem Fu or anything. You were just nicer to him.
[00:30:16] Shaquille O’Neal: I was just nice to him. Usually a guy like that, I would first play the game, try to commit an offensive foul. That was my thing. Like, I take three steps to the middle and swing the elbow around. If your face is there, you get hit. Three things going to happen, we either score, we either miss, or the ref is going to call offensive foul, every time. So the first play of the game, I'm letting you know that I'm coming with nothing but force. So if your face is in a way, it's not my problem but I didn't do that with him. With him, I was real finesse and trying to be cool and cute and it costs me. But it also taught me a valuable lesson. I said to myself, if I ever make it back to the finals again, I'm going to throw a dominant performance. So dominant, that guarantees a win. I think that's why I got three final's MVPs because I didn't want to have that feeling of letting everybody down the panel, the family, the kids, the city. Because when you win, you get the praise, but when you lose, you get the finger. And I understand that and I respect that and I accept that.
[00:31:15] Jordan Harbinger: How do you turn up the heat and get more physically aggressive on the court or more aggressive in the game without getting angry or losing your sh*t a little bit?
[00:31:25] Shaquille O’Neal: Because NBA stands for nothing but actors. In real life, I'm a nice guy.
[00:31:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:29] Shaquille O’Neal: I'm a Terminator body with a Bambi heart. So on the court, so my persona, I'm a Shaq, not only that I'm trying to win. 17,000 fans in here, relying on me. I got kids relying on me. I got millions of fans relying on me. I got kids that want to be like me. I'm going to do the same thing for them that Dr. J did for me. Dr. J changed my life. Dr. J was the guy that I said, "Okay, now I know what I want to be when I grow up." I had some good grades and my father took me to a game. We're way up in Madison Square Garden, probably top row. Boring game. Dr. J goes to baseline throwdown, the whole arena stands up. It actually scared me because I thought something was happening. Then I looked at my dad and I said, "I know I want to be when I grow up, dad. I want to be that man." He's like, "Well, this is what you got to do, son." And I want to be that person to a kid that's trying to do something with his life now.
[00:32:21] Jordan Harbinger: So you and your dad outlined a plan to get all the way to the NBA?
[00:32:24] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes, we did.
[00:32:25] Jordan Harbinger: How did that look back then? I mean, it seems like a lot of people do that now, but there's too much white space where you kind of don't really know what goes in between.
[00:32:34] Shaquille O’Neal: He taught me how to play the right way, taught me how to work hard. He told me to expect not being as good as I wanted to be in the early, but that's okay to keep working. He taught me to take criticism and use it as motivation and told me to compete at a high level. I've won on every level except college, little league. AAU, Olympics, junior Olympics, won on every level except college. So as a youngster, when I used to play and win, he would let me celebrate the trophy one day. I'd come home after school and it'll be gone. And he was the type you never asked him where's the trophy at. So I finally asked him when I got older and he said, "I did it because I never want you to be satisfied. I want you to always want more as a player." So even as a youngster, when I was a player and I wasn't that good, that wasn't stopping me because I knew that because of my work ethic, I was going to be somebody. And with him being a drill sergeant, I would have to get up at 5:30 with him and his troops to go through the course first and I'd be right behind him.
[00:33:35] Jordan Harbinger: He was literally a drill sergeant.
[00:33:36] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes.
[00:33:37] Jordan Harbinger: And he made you get up early with all the troops and go work out.
[00:33:40] Shaquille O’Neal: And I had to fold the bed and he'd drop a quarter on it. And the pillows had to be creased, all that stuff. If not—
[00:33:46] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:33:46] Shaquille O’Neal: —if I mess up, I'd have to do it again. He'd be like, "You only got five minutes. If you don't get it done in five minutes, you're going to be on that track double time. Move it, move it." Yeah, best thing that happened to me.
[00:33:55] Jordan Harbinger: Your dad was pretty good at balancing being a nurturing, caring father with being a real hard-ass from the sound of it.
[00:34:02] Shaquille O’Neal: No, he was hard-ass 70 percent of the time.
[00:34:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah?
[00:34:05] Shaquille O’Neal: Military life, family, marriage. He was really hard-ass, but he taught me, "Don't listen to how I say it. Listen to what I say." Because when you're a drill sergeant, "You got to be like this at all times." So he was like that all time, but he could be really nice. Like he would be like, "What's up Perry? How you doing? Like, he'd be yelling, but he'd be talking. So that was just who he was. Again, he told me, he said, "Don't listen to how I say it. Listen to what I say." And so like, even with him yelling all the time, it wasn't a real yell. It was just how he was.
[00:34:36] Jordan Harbinger: What balance do you take with your own kids between being tough on them and being nurturing when appropriate?
[00:34:42] Shaquille O’Neal: I'm one of the luckiest guys where I have six awesome children. They know and understand. I have "face discipline" with them. All I got to do is make a face and the face sometimes get me in trouble with the girls because they'll just start shedding tears immediately. So I have to loosen up the face muscles with the girl, but the guys, I just like, "Really? Say it again. I dare you," but I've never had to spank them or never do anything. So that's good for me.
[00:35:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So, they know what might be coming just from the look and that's enough usually.
[00:35:12] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. They know.
[00:35:13] Jordan Harbinger: I think most parents probably have that.
[00:35:15] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[00:35:15] Jordan Harbinger: If you don't have "face discipline," you got problems.
[00:35:18] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. All I got to do is just look at them.
[00:35:20] Jordan Harbinger: How do you separate the game and fame from your personal life and not let one interfere with the other? Because you're really good at that.
[00:35:26] Shaquille O’Neal: It is what it is. What you see is what you get. A lot of people like to use the word role model. To me, it's you're playing a role. I'm a real model. What you see is what you get. You know, I don't want to be one of those guys that acts a certain way when the cameras are on when the marketing team is around, and then get behind closed doors and do that because that's how one day you get caught.
[00:35:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:35:48] Shaquille O’Neal: And people will realize that you're a fraud and it'll be all over. It's happened. So I try to keep it real, but in a respectful manner. With me, what you see is what you get. I'm a funny guy in real life. I talk to people in real life. I love kids in real life. I love rims and you know, I love hanging out. This is what I do. I'm also very professional. I'm also educated. I speak the language and I think that's why I'm running for sheriff I think I'll do a good job because I speak all types of languages. I can go on the corner and, "What's up, bro? Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom." I can throw on a three-piece suit and have a conversation with Warren Buffett and boom. I can go. I speak all those languages, but I just try to be myself. Like I can't put on a facade just for this.
[00:36:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:36:37] Shaquille O’Neal: Because that will catch up with you eventually.
[00:36:39] Jordan Harbinger: I think a lot of people in your position do put on that facade. Otherwise, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
[00:36:45] What do you think is the difference between the confidence to just keep it real, just be yourself all the time and the cockiness that a lot of these other guys exhibit all the time?
[00:36:53] Shaquille O’Neal: I can't speak for anybody else, but you know, I'm in a position in my life — it's all about having fun. Like I hate seeing people talk about how much money they got. Who cares? You know what I love? I live in the neighborhood — and listen to me closely, man. I live in the neighborhood in Orlando. My house is 70,000 square feet. I'm not bragging.
[00:37:11] Jordan Harbinger: 70,000 square feet?
[00:37:12] Shaquille O’Neal: 70,000 square feet. It's not the best house in the neighborhood. There's a guy that has one for 90. And guess what? I don't know who he is or what he does. I've been trying for years to just like, "Who is this guy?" There's another house down at the 50,000. There's 140, like, there's one that has a yacht in the back. Like those are people that really respect because they just do their work and they just come home. They're not on Instagram. "Look, I'm leaving on a jet. I got a yacht." Like I hate people like that. I would never do that. Every now and then I say, "Okay, I got this," just to know that, but I don't like people like that.
[00:37:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You talk more about Icy Hot than your car collection.
[00:37:46] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, exactly, exactly.
[00:37:48] Jordan Harbinger: Actually, I looked at your car collection online and I noticed you have a smart car. I got to have—
[00:37:53] Shaquille O’Neal: That was a long time ago.
[00:37:54] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Because I was thinking—
[00:37:55] Shaquille O’Neal: I bought it as a bet.
[00:37:57] Jordan Harbinger: What was the bet? I bet you can't fit in the smart car or that you can't get out.
[00:38:00] Shaquille O’Neal: A guy bet me 30,000 to my favorite charity that I couldn't fit in the smart car. So I bought the car, got in the car, and then I gave the car to his daughter.
[00:38:09] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:38:09] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[00:38:09] Jordan Harbinger: So you didn't seat mod the car.
[00:38:11] Shaquille O’Neal: No.
[00:38:11] Jordan Harbinger: So you really pulled that seat all the way back and just sat in the smart car.
[00:38:15] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. My knees were touching the steering wheel a little bit, but I fit. You know, even with the Buick, people are like, "Oh, you adjust the seat." The people at Buick wouldn't allow us to adjust the seat.
[00:38:24] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:38:24] Shaquille O’Neal: I actually really fit. I got tired of being asked do I fit in the Buick so much, I went out and bought a Buick. And one time, I was speeding on the highway — I apologized to all the police officers — a cop stopped me. And he comes up through the window, "License and registration," and he sees me and you should see the joy on his face. And he says, "Oh sh*t, you really do fit in the Buick — go, be careful." That was a great story.
[00:38:48] Jordan Harbinger: That is funny. I would imagine like the Ferrari, you got mod the seats—
[00:38:51] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes.
[00:38:51] Jordan Harbinger: All these little cars, you got to mod the seats. What are the things you have to have custom-made? Shoes, beds, car seats, occasionally. A lot of people ask me to ask you that.
[00:39:00] Shaquille O’Neal: Just clothes. I'm a t-shirt, jeans, TOMS type of guy. And I still got my Shaq shoes that I wear every day. I'm just a normal, basic guy these days. So I will buy in bulk because I don't like shopping. So like the jeans, I have on today, I guarantee I got 40 pair of each color. They're just in my house. So I don't want to be able to like three years from now, go buy jeans. I want to have like 200, 300 pair of jeans in each house.
[00:39:27] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. And do you buy the clothes yourself or you have somebody who's like, "Hey, he likes these, get a hundred more"?
[00:39:33] Shaquille O’Neal: I'm a regular guy. I do stuff myself. I go to Walmart by myself. I go to CVS by myself. I go to Waffle House. I go to Krispy Kreme all by myself.
[00:39:42] Jordan Harbinger: Do you own a Krispy Kreme? I feel like you—
[00:39:44] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes.
[00:39:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:45] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes, in Atlanta.
[00:39:46] Jordan Harbinger: You own a lot of different franchise businesses and things like that. How do you decide what to invest in? I mean, who do you even trust to advise you in that kind of thing?
[00:39:53] Shaquille O’Neal: Well, first I trust my panel, of course.
[00:39:56] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:39:56] Shaquille O’Neal: And then myself. Like, for example, if I don't like this water and you being the CEO of this company, there's no amount of money you can offer me to drink this. And then I'll tell my panel. "Okay. If they're interested, I'm sure somebody else will be interested. This is what I like to drink."
[00:40:13] There's a story I tell everybody. After we won our championship, Wheaties contacted us. But as a youngster, I'd seen the great Wheaties commercials, but we couldn't afford Wheaties. For us, it was Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, Dig 'Em Smacks. So Wheaties contacted us and said, "Hey, we want you to be on the cover?" And I told my agent, "I can't do it." He said, "What do you mean you can't do a breakfast champion?" I said, "I never ate Wheaties and I'm not going to try it right now. If I'm eating cereal, it's going to be Frosted Flakes one, Fruity Pebbles, and then Dig 'Em Smacks."
[00:40:42] So second championship, Wheaties come back again. I'm like, "I can't do it, bro." Third championship, "Nah, can't do it." And then the fourth championship, I think, they did deal with the NBA, and D Wade and myself was on it. And then finally my dream came true. About three years ago, Perry came to me and said, "I got some good news, got some bad news." I said, "Okay, what's the bad news? He said, "Frost Flakes, still not interested." Because I actually told him, I said, "Call Frosted Flakes—"
[00:41:08] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:41:08] Shaquille O’Neal: "—and tell them I'll be on the cover with Tony for free. They ain't even got to pay me." They didn't buy it. So he said, "Frost Flakes, they're not interested, but Fruity Pebbles is," and he said, "They want to put you on 13 million boxes." And I said, "Let me think about it — hell, yeah." So I was on the cover of 13 million boxes of Fruity Pebbles, which was awesome because growing up, that's what I ate. In college, I really use Icy Hot and it really worked. And I was like this stuff really works. So when they approach it, I was like, "You know what? I know about this product firsthand, let's do it." You know, I have to be comfortable with the product. And then like, if I'm not comfortable with the product, it has to be something new and innovative. Like I'm really into technology. We meet with a lot of people that try to show off stuff and I'm a geek. A geek save my high school career.
[00:41:58] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:41:59] Shaquille O’Neal: I had a 69.2 in government class.
[00:42:03] Jordan Harbinger: Like a D minus or something like that.
[00:42:05] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, a D minus. And it was around playoff time. I wasn't a bad student. I just wasn't getting it. And the teacher was like, "You know what? I'm going to give you a chance to retake this test," because we were like 33 a lot of times — she's like, "I'm not going to pass you just because you're athlete, but you work hard. I respect your work. You're not a troublemaker in class. I'm going to give you an opportunity to retake this test. You got to study with McDougal." McDougal was a geek in school—
[00:42:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, sure.
[00:42:32] Shaquille O’Neal: And everybody used to bully him and I used to just stick up for him. He was a smart kid. He had the computer back in the day where you had to press space bar, ESC, and delete. And he had the big — you know, he had that computer back in the day. Everybody used to mess with him. And I was the only one be like, "Yo man, leave him alone. Just leave him alone." So he was my tutor and he was the coolest guy ever. And he broke it down. So the way he broke it down, I made a B on the test, boom, won the state championship. And I was like, "You know what? I respect geeks and how they think I want to be a geek." And I've been in geek ever since. And I'm proud to say it. And if you see me in the streets, you can call me big geek and it won't hurt my feelings.
[00:43:10] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. You ever kept in touch with McDougal?
[00:43:12] Shaquille O’Neal: No, I wish. You know the crazy thing is I don't really know his name. People just used to call him McDougal.
[00:43:18] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay. So he could — that could be anybody.
[00:43:20] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. I actually have looked at my yearbook and see his name, but he was a nice kid and my school was nine through 12, 269 kids, nine through 12.
[00:43:29] Jordan Harbinger: Dang.
[00:43:30] Shaquille O’Neal: And my senior class was 39 students. It was a small school.
[00:43:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:33] Shaquille O’Neal: Everybody knew everybody there. So like, if you were an athlete and he was picking on this guy, I didn't really play that. I'm like, "Yo man, leave him alone." Just like, people would be messing with him. Because he just kept to himself and didn't say anything, but this dude had a 4.9. He was one of the smartest guys in school. Like I could see people like when they taking tests, I could see people looking over, "What does McDougal say or see? So I always used to just stick up for him because I don't like people just messing with people for no reason.
[00:44:01] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Shaquille O'Neal. We'll be right back.
[00:44:06] This episode is sponsored in part by Starbucks. The new Starbucks Baya Energy drink is crafted from caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit. It includes antioxidants and vitamin C. So it's a great beverage to sip on when you're hanging out in a floaty in the pool, tanning at the beach — wear sunscreen — or strolling the kids at the park. Starbucks Baya Energy drink comes in three delicious fruity flavors, raspberry lime, mango guava, each flavor more refreshing than the next. It's a perfect pick-me-up when you're out and about on a summer day. Pack a Starbucks Baya Energy drink for that next golf game with your friends. For me, that's minigolf because that's my level of golfing experience. Each 12-ounce 90-calorie can contains 160 milligrams of caffeine. It'll give you a refreshing fruit-flavored boost of feel-good energy in a way only Starbucks can deliver.
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[00:45:37] This episode is sponsored in part by Blinkist. I spend several hours a day every day, reading books, researching for the podcast. Y'all know that I talk about that a lot on the show. Yeah, it's time consuming to sift through hundreds of pages to find nuggets of wisdom. That's entirely my job, really. So I realize most of you don't have that kind of time. With Blinkist, they will do the legwork of pulling key takeaways from nonfiction books and putting them into 15-minute text and audio explainers called Blinks. That'll help you discover and understand the ideas from the books and the podcasts in a short amount of time, like a cheat sheet, right? Blinkist has condensed over 5,000 titles in 27 categories. Mark Manson's book is in there. You've heard him on the show a few times, his super popular, Subtle Art of Not Giving an F, over 10 million copies sold no big deal. Blinkist breaks down the eight key ideas. So you don't need to go and read or reread the entire book. Unless, of course, you want to. Thanks to Blinkist, you can access valuable knowledge and great ideas really quickly. Right now, Blinkist has a special offer just for our audience. Go to blinkist.com/jordan to start your seven-day free trial and get 25 percent off a Blinkist premium membership. That's Blinkist, spelled B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T, blinkist.com/jordan to get 25 percent off and a seven-day free trial, blinkist.com/jordan.
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[00:47:17] Now for the rest of my conversation with Shaquille O'Neal.
[00:47:22] So you were always like that. You always had a good sense of humor, always.
[00:47:25] Shaquille O’Neal: No, I was a bully at first.
[00:47:27] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:47:28] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. This happened in Hinesville, Georgia. I want to say fifth grade. Previous before I got to school, my father said, "If you get suspended one more time, you already know what's going go when you get home."
[00:47:40] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, drill sergeant.
[00:47:41] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, the paddle. I'm in class and I have a water bottle. I don't even know what I got it for and I got some tissue. And I'm making this gigantic spit wad and I'm just lubing it up. Boom. And it's the wettest thing ever.
[00:47:52] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:47:53] Shaquille O’Neal: And I throw it on the chalkboard and, pshh, splat, everybody, the kids going crazy, teacher turns around. I'm silent, and at this point, all the students know don't mess the Shaq because he will do something to you. Take your lunch, whatever, whatever. So I'm sitting there and the teacher goes, "Who did that?" And the guy rats me out. Go through the thing, suspended for five days.
[00:48:15] So now, I get to go back to class I'm with the little slip that says I got suspended. I'm just sitting like, "Man, man, man," and finally around 2:50, we get out at three o'clock. I look at the kid, "I'm getting you today. If I'm going to get my ass whooped, you are too." I wait about an hour and see him sneaking behind and I get him. And I just start touching him up and he starts having an epileptic seizure.
[00:48:37] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:48:38] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. And some guy, innocent bystander, came and put a pencil in his mouth. So the cops came to the house and they knew my father and the guy's family didn't want to press charges, but what my father did, he allowed the MPs to take me to jail. He said, "This is what would have happened if you'd have killed this kid?
[00:48:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:57] Shaquille O’Neal: And they put me through the whole process. Charging me, handcuffing me, put me in the cell, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. It was sort of like an uncut gone straight.
[00:49:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, scared straight.
[00:49:08] Shaquille O’Neal: But it was uncut because this was like a military prison. These guys were there. They were tough. And after that day I was like, "You know, I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm done with that." If that kid would've passed away, that would be a whole different story.
[00:49:20] Jordan Harbinger: You didn't know that was going to happen.
[00:49:21] Shaquille O’Neal: No, I was just trying to show off for no reason.
[00:49:25] Jordan Harbinger: Where do you think you'd be today if you didn't become a basketball player?
[00:49:28] Shaquille O’Neal: Be a cop.
[00:49:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So you've come full circle now.
[00:49:32] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[00:49:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:49:32] Shaquille O’Neal: And you know, I remember asking my father that. He said, "You would be a somebody. It doesn't matter." Like I don't brag to the fact that I did this and I did that because we're all human beings. We're all put on this earth. All males and females put their clothes on the same way. We're all the same people. Some people just have different circumstances. So I try not to flash my circumstances in people's face. And fortunate thing is they know all my circumstances anyway.
[00:50:02] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, yeah.
[00:50:02] Shaquille O’Neal: I don't have to put it in their face.
[00:50:04] Jordan Harbinger: Is it strange to you not being able to have like a private life that people will just leave you the hell alone if you wanted it?
[00:50:11] Shaquille O’Neal: I don't look at it like that. If I want to be unseen, I know how to get away. Like my go-to place getaway is Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. Rent me a little boat and just look at the blue water and just relax. If I'm having a bad day, I'll stay in the house and I don't want to go out and go, "Get out of my face." Like, you know, I don't want that story to be out. I know how to navigate my way through.
[00:50:32] Jordan Harbinger: So you manage your emotions really well. It seems like you're self-aware enough to know, "I'm this man."
[00:50:37] Shaquille O’Neal: I'm 80/20, I'm 80-percent humorous, 20-percent serious. And I don't really have to get serious a lot. It's good that you know three people on my panel handle 90 percent of my business affairs, which is a good thing to have.
[00:50:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:51] Shaquille O’Neal: They're they are the left side of my brain. So then I let them do all the intelligent thinking and we have conversations and then I'll help them make a decision at the end, which is good. Because I think if I had to do all this stuff by myself, I probably go crazy. So nice to have teammates around you to help you win championships.
[00:51:09] Jordan Harbinger: Were you always the biggest kid in your class growing up yet?
[00:51:12] Shaquille O’Neal: Always the biggest kid. And after I became a bully, I was like, "How can I get these people to like me and respect me?" Bam, I'm going to be silly. I'm a funny guy. I watch Good Times. Sanford and Son, Brady—
[00:51:25] Jordan Harbinger: Dynomite.
[00:51:25] Shaquille O’Neal: —Bunch, Tom and Jerry. I like to laugh. I like to make people laugh. I like to dance. This is what I'm going to do to get people to like me and it worked.
[00:51:33] Jordan Harbinger: So I'm curious, the social impact of people always looking up at you and commenting on your height and asking, "Hey, do you play basketball?" because you weren't really a basket — you weren't good at basketball when you were young because you were too big, right? When you were really young.
[00:51:45] Shaquille O’Neal: No, I wasn't always too big. I was uncoordinated.
[00:51:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's what I meant. Yeah.
[00:51:48] Shaquille O’Neal: I didn't have the belief. And once I saw Dr. J, it's all about believing. Like a thought just turn up your whole internal structure. It was crazy. Like I thought I was a terrible player, so I actually was a terrible player. And then at one time, "I can do that." Now, it felt like a movie. Like as soon as I said, "I could do that," it felt like a [buzz sound] just enter my body. And I just took off from there.
[00:52:14] Jordan Harbinger: You just kind of—
[00:52:15] Shaquille O’Neal: I just thought about it.
[00:52:16] Jordan Harbinger: —thought about it and let it reprogram yourself.
[00:52:19] Shaquille O’Neal: For so long, being 6'3", 6'4", not being able to play and people whispering, "He's going to be terrible." Like you hear that stuff and you see it, you start to believe it. I'm like, "Maybe I am terrible. You know what? Let me go to this local ROTC program and look at these pamphlets and see what the military life is really about." 18 to get in, boom, bam, bam, bam, I might be in the military. Then I just changed my thought process, and then, phew.
[00:52:45] Jordan Harbinger: What age did that happen?
[00:52:46] Shaquille O’Neal: 15.
[00:52:47] Jordan Harbinger: 15. Wow. So you were pretty young still at that point.
[00:52:50] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, I saw Dr. J at 14 and then 15, I was like, "Now it's time to go do something about it."
[00:52:56] Jordan Harbinger: Is your mom coming out for the statue unveiling?
[00:52:58] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes, she is.
[00:52:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. You still turn to her for advice from the sound of it.
[00:53:01] Shaquille O’Neal: She's on the panel.
[00:53:02] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, she even had you sort of—
[00:53:03] Shaquille O’Neal: She's the head of the panel.
[00:53:05] Jordan Harbinger: The head of the panel?
[00:53:06] Shaquille O’Neal: She gets upset with me some time like doing this to — what you call him? Beef — I'm not going to say his name. I don't want him to get sensitive.
[00:53:12] Jordan Harbinger: I was about to bring that up, but I won't do it.
[00:53:14] Shaquille O’Neal: No. You can bring it up but I'm not going to say his name.
[00:53:15] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:53:16] Shaquille O’Neal: But it got out of hand. And when she called, she says, "Squash it. You got to squash it." President of the panel, mama, she's just said, leave it alone. I was having fun with it, but you know, mama said, "Hey, leave it alone." I got to leave it alone. You don't question your mother.
[00:53:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:53:30] Shaquille O’Neal: A man that question his mother, not a true man.
[00:53:33] Jordan Harbinger: Why did she get involved in that?
[00:53:35] Shaquille O’Neal: I got nothing to do with that. My mother is a thousand percent corporate and she became that way — well, she's always been that way, but she tells a story that she had me at a young age, she sacrificed a lot. But because she invested her time in me, it's paying back, her ROIs — it hit. It's like Google.
[00:53:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. The IPO has hit.
[00:53:59] Shaquille O’Neal: It has hit. So it enabled her to go back to school and get her bachelor's, her master's, and her doctorate. So my mother is a sharp corporate businesswoman, and she knows it's just bad for business. Meanwhile, my whole man ego thing, "You say you want to fight. We're going to fight." That's just how I am. And she like, "Son," like, you know, she'll break it up, "you got babies looking up to you, boom, boom." And then it enables me to stop and like, "She's right. Shut it down. Boom, boom, boom." But again, when you're a man and you're competitive and you know people challenge you like — if you challenge me now, I'm going to just get like this and I'm going to be in challenge mode, but you know, she called me and just had to let it go.
[00:54:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It seems like that's one of the most powerful things around you is having other brains doing the thinking. As self-aware as you are, as willing and able as you are to manage your own emotions, having five other brains that go, "Whoa, hang on, let's take a breath here," has been your saving grace for a long time.
[00:54:51] Shaquille O’Neal: General Dwight Eisenhower said, "The greatest leaders are the ones smart enough to hire people smarter than, you around you." Best quote I ever heard in my life.
[00:55:00] Jordan Harbinger: If someone's listening to this right now and they think, "I should do a panel, I should get my own panel," where do you recommend they start looking for that?
[00:55:07] Shaquille O’Neal: Family, friends, and people that you trust.
[00:55:10] Jordan Harbinger: How do you know who you can trust if you already have a measure of success, right? Because those people then could have — not your family necessarily, but a lot of people around you will have an agenda by that point.
[00:55:18] Shaquille O’Neal: Good point. I don't have a blueprint for it. Just like a gut feeling thing.
[00:55:24] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:55:24] Shaquille O’Neal: One thing about Perry and my relationship is Perry didn't come looking for me. I found him. Uncle Mike and Uncle Jerome have been there since I've been a youngster. When I get caught stealing gum and the people call the cops. The cops say, "Hey, Uncle Jerome, Uncle [Shaq], we got your nephew again. We'll go get him." They come down. Instead of, you know, hit me with the book, they would explain, "Yo man, you can't do this. Boom, boom, boom." And my mother, you know, you got to love my mother.
[00:55:48] And coach brown was the guy that offered me a scholarship when I was the worst player on the army base. He came in there and said, "Hey, I want to offer you a scholarship anyway because you're saying you're not a good player and I know this army life, your dad probably can't afford college. You can come to LSU anyway." So that's why I decided to go to LSU, but that's why he's on the panel.
[00:56:10] So it is like a gut feeling. One you can't have yes people. You know, somebody you respect and they just got to tell you like it is. And the good thing for me is, I don't know everything. And if I don't know, I'll ask a question and I can figure it out, but you have to be able to have someone that you love and respect, be honest with you by keeping it real. Like when you do something wrong and they say, "You shouldn't have did that. You got to fix it." Like I'm not the guy, "What?" No. "You shouldn't have did that. You shouldn't have said that. Boom, bam, bang. I'll talk to you later." And then, you know, I listen about it — listen to it, think about it, and then we move on.
[00:56:45] Respect is the keyword. Like Kobe, we had our ups and downs, but we always respected each other. Want to know how I know we respected each other. In game seven, who did Kobe throw a lot to?
[00:56:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That was you.
[00:56:57] Shaquille O’Neal: After the championship in Indiana, who did Kobe run and jump into his arms?
[00:57:01] Jordan Harbinger: It must have been you.
[00:57:02] Shaquille O’Neal: It must have been me. So, you know, after the game in Indiana when Kobe sprained his ankle and couldn't walk, who said, "Jump on my back and I'll walk you to the bus?"
[00:57:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That was you.
[00:57:12] Shaquille O’Neal: The respect is there. Forget the little tits and the tats. You can have that. Brothers have that.
[00:57:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:57:17] Shaquille O’Neal: Sisters have that. Married people have that, but as long as you got the respect there, it'll work. And that's what it's all about, especially when deciding your panel.
[00:57:25] Jordan Harbinger: When you got your check, when you first signed, you spent your first paycheck, I think — was it 45 minutes or part of your first paycheck anyway?
[00:57:33] Shaquille O’Neal: It wasn't my first paycheck. It was my first big check from Classic Cards. I did a card signing there before it came in, it was a million dollars. And you know, when you're a young kid and you have no business etiquette, or you don't know anything about business. A million is a million. Every man that works and every man that has to pay a mortgage know that, FICA—
[00:57:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:57:54] Shaquille O’Neal: Sales tax, states, tax, all those people going to get their money first, before you see that. So my check was about 750 and I didn't even know. My guy said, "Hey, you signed for a million." And then I didn't even factor in his 15 percent, which is 150. And then boom and bam, and so by the time I bought three cars. I bought a car and my father said, "I want one." And in my mind, I was like, "150 minus a million. Oh, I got 850 left. Cool." And then my mom said, "Hey, I want one." So like, "Okay, 850 minus — okay, boom. 700. Yeah, let's do it. Boom." And then I got a call from the bank guy the next day. He said, "You're 30,000 in the hole." I bought rims and suits and baggy pants and Versace shirts and chains. And it was wild. That's when my father came and very upset and said, "See, see? Let's go. You need to get a business manager." And then that's when I started looking for people.
[00:58:48] Jordan Harbinger: The lesson to take away from that is one, get a business manager, and two, don't go to the car dealership with your parents.
[00:58:53] Shaquille O’Neal: No. You just have to be smart. Like I wish I would've known about leasing back then. I probably would've just leased the thing.
[00:59:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:59:03] Shaquille O’Neal: I could have just put like 5,000 down and paid $700 a month for three years, rather than write a guy a check for 150 three times.
[00:59:12] Jordan Harbinger: Expensive lessons, man.
[00:59:13] Shaquille O’Neal: Yes.
[00:59:13] Jordan Harbinger: Expensive lessons, Shaq. What did you do before you had dough, though? I mean, in college you must have had to sleep sideways on beds or stack beds together. I mean, what was that like?
[00:59:22] Shaquille O’Neal: I tried to get all the free stuff and when I mean free stuff from LSU that I could. So I had about 20, 30 basketball Reebok sweatsuits. That's all I wore.
[00:59:34] Jordan Harbinger: Just tracksuits?
[00:59:35] Shaquille O’Neal: Tracksuits and LSU football shirt, t-shirt. And then, I got a Pell Grant. So the Pell Grant, I got like $1,500. So I go—
[00:59:43] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:59:43] Shaquille O’Neal: So I go to the bank and I put three $100 dollars bills and rest in one. So I like walk on campus like I had a big wad of money.
[00:59:54] Jordan Harbinger: Just to feel like, "All right, I still got something in my pocket," huh?
[00:59:57] Shaquille O’Neal: Yep.
[00:59:57] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. Nice.
[00:59:58] Shaquille O’Neal: Just to feel rich.
[01:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: I guess that makes sense. I guess that makes sense to make sure you got something to show for it.
[01:00:04] Why the rap career, being in movies? I mean, you went platinum, so not bad, but what was the value add there? What was the point?
[01:00:11] Shaquille O’Neal: For me, it wasn't about doing those things, it's about following my dream. I'm in the studio with Notorious B.I.G.
[01:00:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:00:18] Shaquille O’Neal: How many people can say that?
[01:00:19] Jordan Harbinger: Not many.
[01:00:20] Shaquille O’Neal: I'm in the studio with Jay-Z, Nas, Peter Gunz, Lord Tariq, Erick Sermon. Wu-Tang Clan, like those are the guys that I grew up listening to, Tribe Called Quest. That's making it. Forget how it sounds and boom and bam and sell albums. Because, like I told a rapper, this one time, rap money is nothing to me. You can sell a million albums, two million albums, you ain't getting a lot of that back. You got to recoup and a lot of people don't understand that, you know? So for me, it was just fun.
[01:00:51] And then the movie thing is it's all about opportunity. I got Blue Chips from sitting in Jerry's Deli. The guy that wrote a White Man Can't Jump was coming up with a script Blue Chips, and he saw me and he is like, "Hey, you're Shaq O'Neal, right? Boom, boom, boom. I'm doing the movie. Would you like to be in it?" What you think I'm going to say? "No, I got to concentrate on my basketball." Forget that. Yeah, I do it. I had to play me and it was one of my better movies. And then, you know out here meeting people and shaking hands. Like we get offer stuff all the time that we have to turn down but—
[01:01:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:01:23] Shaquille O’Neal: It's all about opportunity.
[01:01:24] Jordan Harbinger: And so you seize on those opportunities. As soon as you smell a good one, there's no hesitation.
[01:01:29] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. And then, you know, it's all about having fun. It's not like we're out there, like, "Huff, huff." Like, "Hey, we want you to do this." "Hmm, that seems cool. Let's do it."
[01:01:37] Jordan Harbinger: "I think the rap money doesn't mean anything to me," is something that only a professional basketball player can say.
[01:01:42] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. Because I was making 20, 30 million a year for basketball.
[01:01:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:01:45] Shaquille O’Neal: And another 10, 15 from Pepsi and Reebok and another, from the Shaq line. I could have sold two, three million album and got three million back, that's nothing.
[01:01:55] Jordan Harbinger: In a way, that's the most hip-hop thing you could possibly say, right?
[01:01:59] Shaquille O’Neal: Like, you know, this ain't enough money for me, like when you talking about Shaq money, but you know, to be able to tell your kids or to, to have people know that you were friends with Notorious B.I.G. and did a song with Jay-Z, that's classic right there.
[01:02:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You got the legendary status.
[01:02:13] Shaquille O’Neal: Because again, the thing is those people didn't like what I was doing, they probably would've said no.
[01:02:20] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:02:21] Shaquille O’Neal: They knew that we know we all — because we all come from the same place. We all from the inner city. On the way to the court, I got my can going on. I got my fake rope chain on. I'm like LL Cool J. As soon as I get there, I open my bag and put out my Chuck Taylors and I'm Dr. J. So, you know, so like when I called all these people up, who a lot of them didn't charge me, by the way, it's like, "Yeah, man, we would love to do it." And they saw my passion and they saw that I really respected the craft, it was okay.
[01:02:48] Jordan Harbinger: Is there anything else on your bucket list that you haven't ticked off yet? Any plans to do anything?
[01:02:52] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah, we actually talked about today. I have a dangerous bucket list that don't go right. You could probably never hear from me again. And I only let the world know about two of those things. I would like to skydive and I would build a contraption that could survive Niagara Falls.
[01:03:08] Jordan Harbinger: What does the panel think about that one?
[01:03:11] Shaquille O’Neal: They don't like it, but I want to do that, man. Because I like to have fun. I think if we design it a certain way, especially to where, if I bounce around nothing will hurt.
[01:03:20] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[01:03:20] Shaquille O’Neal: And it has to be strong enough to withstand in case it hit a rock or something but I would like to do that and then put cameras in it, let people tune in, and see if I make it or not.
[01:03:28] Jordan Harbinger: You could stream it live, man.
[01:03:30] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[01:03:31] Jordan Harbinger: Either way, it'll be a good show. That's for sure.
[01:03:32] Shaquille O’Neal: I want to climb to Himalayas. I hear that's tough.
[01:03:36] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[01:03:37] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. I hear that's very, very tough. I want to do that. Went out with Bear Grylls and that was tough. So yeah, I have a lot of things to do on my bucket list.
[01:03:44] Jordan Harbinger: No MMA anymore, huh?
[01:03:46] Shaquille O’Neal: Nah.
[01:03:46] Jordan Harbinger: Nah, because I know that you and Charles Barkley were both kind of into that at one point.
[01:03:51] Shaquille O’Neal: If I fought the MMA, it would only be one guy I would fight.
[01:03:55] Jordan Harbinger: Who'd you fight?
[01:03:56] Shaquille O’Neal: His name is Hong-man Choi. He's a 7'4" guy from South Korea, I think.
[01:04:00] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Yeah. 7'4".
[01:04:02] Shaquille O’Neal: I never fought any guy, never fought anybody in my size. I would like to see how I would fair out—
[01:04:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:04:08] Shaquille O’Neal: —against that.
[01:04:08] Jordan Harbinger: You could call Yao too. He might do it.
[01:04:10] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah. Yao don't want these problems.
[01:04:14] Jordan Harbinger: All right, right on. Well, so I love that and you're not going to wrestle the Big Show.
[01:04:18] Shaquille O’Neal: Uh, probably not.
[01:04:19] Jordan Harbinger: Nah, he doesn't seem like a good use of—
[01:04:20] Shaquille O’Neal: Probably not.
[01:04:21] Jordan Harbinger: —your lower back—
[01:04:23] Shaquille O’Neal: Yeah.
[01:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: —either. Yeah. I got to ask or people are going to get mad as we wrap up here. What's going on with the flat earth thing? Are you just messing with everybody with that?
[01:04:32] Shaquille O’Neal: No, the earth is flat. Would you like to hear my theory?
[01:04:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Tell me about it.
[01:04:36] Shaquille O’Neal: The first part of the theory is I'm joking, you idiots. That's the first part of the theory. Second part is I said jokingly that when I'm in my bus and I drive from Florida to California, which I do every summer, it seems to be flat. When I'm in my plane and we're getting ready to land and I open up the window and I'm looking at all the land that we've flown, it seems to be flat, but this world we live in people take things too seriously. I'm going to give the people, answers to my tests, knowing that I'm a funny guy if something seems controversial or boom, boom, boom, you got to add my funny points on, right? So now, once you add my funny points on, that should eradicate and get rid of all your negative thoughts, right? That's what you should do when you hear a Shaquille O'Neal's statement. Okay. You should know that he has funny points right over here. What did he say? The guy had, boom, boom, boom, boom. Add the funny points. You either laugh or you don't laugh, but don't take me seriously because when I want you to take me seriously, you will know by the tone of my voice that I'm being serious.
[01:05:41] We live in a world today — and Denzel Washington said it best. There's too much information right now. There's too much going on. So like, if somebody says something and they title it and they send that out. By the time it gets to another guy, another guy it's all messed up. So people actually really believe that I was serious when it said that.
[01:05:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:05:59] Shaquille O’Neal: We actually had people calling the office, long time, "Does Shaq really—?" No, I don't think that. It was a joke. Okay. So know that once Shaquille O'Neal says something 80 percent of the time because 80 percent of the time I'm being humorous, it is a joke and 20 percent of the time I'm being serious.
[01:06:19] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, we were humbled to have the opportunity to talk to the late Kobe Bryant for this interview just a few short months before the tragedy. Here's a preview with one of basketball's most iconic legends, Kobe Bryant.
[01:06:34] Kobe Bryant: I love the game. I love it. I didn't want to be away from it. I wanted to play all the time. I was 18, 21 years old, I wanted to play basketball. I was consumed with this quest of trying to be the best. I knew I wanted to win five, six, seven championships. For me to come out and say that people would think I was a lunatic.
[01:06:55] Negotiate with yourself. You know, what happens inside up here? Are you able to negotiate your way out of that little voice telling you it's not that important or does that little voice get the best of you?
[01:07:08] Remove the ego from this process. Just focus on the act. And when you do that, now you can look at actions and then you can truly improve. How can you lock in and get into that mental space where nothing else matters? The noise of the crowd doesn't matter, whether they're cheering or booing, doesn't matter. You're just completely locked in. How do you do that?
[01:07:26] Jordan Harbinger: How do you not let demons of uncertainty get inside your head? Like when you tore your Achilles, are you not thinking like, "Uh-oh, how am I going to come back with this?"
[01:07:33] Kobe Bryant: Oh God. Yeah. If you're nervous or scared about situations instead of being like, "Nah, there's nothing to be scared about. Nothing to be scared about. Oh sh*t, there is."
[01:07:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:07:41] Kobe Bryant: And that's fine. That's okay. You know, like you own it, you give it a hug. You embrace it. And now what are you going to do about it?
[01:07:49] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Kobe Bryant, including how Kobe managed pressure in high-stakes situations and lessons Kobe learned from the people who are the best at what they do, check out episode 249 on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:08:03] Well, well, well, a lot here. I hope y'all enjoyed it as much as I did. Shaq has not given anybody an hour of time since I want to say ESPN and I think 60 minutes a long time ago because you kind of have to do that for 60 minutes. It's part of the show. It kind of ruined 60 minutes if you only go for half an hour, am I right? So a great big size 27, thank you to Shaq, to him, and his whole panel as a matter of fact. Links to all resources and all things Shaq will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Please use our website links if you buy any book from any guest or anything from any guest for that matter. That does help support the show.
[01:08:35] Transcripts are in the show notes. Videos up on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, and discount codes for all sponsors are all on the website at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please do consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me right there on LinkedIn.
[01:08:54] I'm teaching you how to connect and maintain your relationships using software systems and tiny habits in our Six-Minute Networking course, which is always free. I don't want your credit card or payment info. I don't care about that. That's not what we do around here. We shill mattresses. The course is over at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. And most of the guests that you hear on the show subscribe and/or contribute to that course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[01:09:20] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. Hey, if you know somebody who's a Shaq fan or could use the advice that we discussed here today, please do share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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