Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal opened up about how he paid for a few of his friends to get a master’s degree. In an episode of Be Better Off Show released September 5, Shaq talked about how he emphasized the impact of education on building a business and accumulating wealth.
He talked about an analogy where he was in a business meeting, and the moguls he was meeting with were talking around him – addressing his lawyers instead of him because they assumed that he didn’t understand the vernacular and business jargon that they were talking about. He explained in the episode that the one incident caused him to go to get his master’s degree.
“I noticed that every time I’d go to a business meeting that the guys who we’re doing deals with would be like, ‘Hello Shaq, how are you doing?’ And then they would turn away and look at my lawyers and my accountants and all those guys,” he said. “So, I said, ‘Oh, you guys don’t think I’m in charge. You guys don’t think I understand the lingo. So I went and got my master’s from the University of Phoenix.”
Not only did he go to get his master’s degree, but he also paid for 15 of his friends to join his class with him.
“The University of Phoenix is an online program mostly,” He explained. “But I went to the head officials and said, ‘I don’t want to do it online. I want somebody to teach me in a class. And they came back and said, ‘Unfortunately, we can’t set up a classroom for one guy. You need 15 people. So, I paid for 15 of my friends to get their master’s.”
Shaq continued to emphasize how important education is to get people to take you seriously as an entrepreneur; he used those skills to build one of the largest personal brands in the world.