They don’t call him The Big Thrifty. Shaquille O’Neal made a lot of money in a short period of time as a 1990s baller, and as he recounted recently to Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum, he wasn’t always the wisest spender.
“I was a 20-year-old kid with $30 million, two houses, 10 cars, didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to act,” says O’Neal. “Yeah, I threw a lot of money away. I bought a ’92 Benz, but when the ’93 Benz came out I wanted the ’93 Benz, which looked exactly like the ’92 Benz. I did that every year for about 10 years until I realized, What am I doing? It’s the same car.”
Shaq’s weakness, aside from free throws? Jewelry. “I spent so much in jewelry. Not classy jewelry. Truck jewelry. Ghetto-rapper jewelry,” he said. “I got the diamond chains, the diamond necklaces. I went to a jewelry store one day and bought a pair of earrings for $60,000. And I lost the earrings going from the jewelry store to the car. I went back to the store, and the guy said I walked out with the bag. After that I said I’m never buying crazy jewelry again.”
Sixty thousand! Lost on the way from the store to the car! We didn’t think anything could top the (possibly apocryphal) story of Julio Jones losing a $100,000 earring in a lake, but this one might do it.
The rest of the article, including Shaq’s perspective on his first showdown against the legendary Patrick Ewing, is worth a read.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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