O’Neal instills good old-fashioned advice to his 6 kids: get educated and earn your own way.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 9, 2021. It has since been updated.
Shaquille O'Neal is preparing his six children for the real world by instilling in them the value of hard work and education. During an interview on the financial literacy podcast, Earn Your Leisure, the NBA legend opened up about how he is determined to teach his kids the importance of earning their own living, even though it has "upset" them. Speaking to financial advisor Rashad Bilal and educator Troy Millings, O'Neal said: "My kids are older now. They are kinda upset with me - not really upset - but they don't understand. Because I tell them all the time. We ain't rich. I'm rich."
"You gotta have bachelor's or master's [degrees], and then if you want me to invest in one of your companies, you're going to have to present it, boom boom boom, bring it to me. I'll let you know, I'm not giving you nothing," the 49-year-old added. "The girls, I'll take care of the girls, but the boys, they're not getting nothing." When asked if he sees his entrepreneurial skills being passed down to his children, O'Neal said: "Yeah, I do, but I try to let them figure it out. There's one rule: education. I don't care if you play basketball. I don't care about none of that."
"Listen, I got six kids. I would like a doctor, somebody to own a hedge fund, a pharmacist, a lawyer, someone that owns multiple businesses, someone to take over my business," he continued. "But I tell them I'm not going to hand it to you. You gotta earn it." The former basketball star went on to recount an incident that affirmed his belief that this is the best way to raise his children. "For Christmas, one of my sons got all A's, I was like, 'Man, go pick what you want.' So he come back with a Tesla," he recounted. "I said, 'You better take yo' ass across the street to the Chargers. Better get you a Charger. You ain't getting no motherfu**ing Telsa. You better get you a Charger, a V-6 at that."
A couple of months after his appearance on the podcast, O'Neal — whose net worth is estimated at more than $400m — opened up about his humble beginnings while retiring from his celebrity status in an interview with the New York Post. "These celebrities are going freaking crazy and I don't want to be one. I denounce my celebrity-ness today. I'm done with it," he said. "I don't want to be in that category. Celebrities are crazy, they really are. Don't call me that anymore. These people are out of their freaking minds with how they treat people, what they do, what they say. That's never been me. I never want to be looked at like that."
"All my life, everyone probably gets stereotyped, but us celebrities, we get stereotyped because most of these celebrities are out of their mind. I don't do that. I'm a regular person that listened, followed his dreams, and made it," O'Neal continued. "I came from nothing. But, just because I made it doesn't mean I’m bigger than you, smarter than you — just because I have more money doesn't mean I'm better than you. I've never been that way and I never will be that way. So I don't want to be in that category of people."
"When they talk about Shaq, what do you say? 'He's a nice guy.' Because what else can you be? You're either nice or you're the A-word, and I definitely won't be looked at as the A-word," he said. "I want people to say, 'Bro, he's nice. He didn't have an entourage. His people didn’t take my phone because I took a picture and threw it.'"