Shaquille O’Neal expands business empire into Kansas City

Abu Mubarik March 14, 2023
Shaquille O'Neal was in Kansas City to celebrate the opening of one of his restaurants, Big Chicken, at the new Kansas City International Airport.(City of Kansas City). Photo credit: KY3

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has expanded his business empire into Kansas City. The sports analyst opened a new branch of his Big Chicken restaurant at Kansas City International Airport’s new terminal, Fox4KC reports. O’Neal hosted the event alongside Mayor Quinton Lucas to celebrate the launch of the restaurant, which is the first Big Chicken in Kansas City and also the first airport location for the franchise.

“We are excited to have Shaq’s Big Chicken in Kansas City!” Fox4KC quoted Mayor Lucas saying.

Shaq founded Big Chicken restaurant, which fuses his home-cooked childhood favorites with today’s trending flavors. He opened his restaurant in Las Vegas in 2018 after retiring from the NBA and later expanded to a location in Glendale, California.

CNBC reports that the NBA star has personalized his business; one of the sandwiches on the Big Chicken menu is called “Uncle Jerome,” named after Shaq’s uncle, while “Charles Barkley,” another offering on the menu, is named after the former professional basketball player and Shaq’s broadcasting partner on “Inside the NBA.”

O’Neal emerged from a low-income household situated in the ‘Projects’ of Newark, New Jersey, to become one of the biggest NBA stars. Often called “Shaq’ or “The Big Aristotle”, he started playing NBA while in high school, and later helped the school to win the state championship. 

He subsequently went to LSU to study business and played basketball under head coach, Dale Brown. By 1992, Shaq had emerged as the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 1992 NBA draft class. He became the first pick by the Orlando Magic and would spend 19 years in the NBA. He was not just an ordinary NBA player, he became one of the best centers in the league.

In the year 1992-93, Shaq won Rookie of the Year and led the Magic to the 1995 NBA Finals. He later moved to the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent, and helped the team to win three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. He also won his fourth NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006 and played for the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics before retiring in 2011.

Despite being one of the best players in NBA history, at the twilight of his professional career, he had his eyes fixed on his retirement. In his 19-year NBA career, he accrued wealth through contracts totaling $300 million, and now makes millions of dollars per year thanks to his businesses and other endorsement deals with companies such as Icy Hot, Gold Bond, Buick, Zales, and others.

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