Shaquille O'Neal explained why his father's advice about staying 'broke' changed his life

Christian Petersen/GettyShaquille O’Neal was ‘broke’ for 19 years.
  • Shaquille O’Neal said his father’s advice to make him stay in college helped change his career.
  • O’Neal said that he wanted to leave LSU after one year but that his father told him, “You been broke for 18 years, you can be broke for 19 years.”
  • O’Neal said he wasn’t ready to make a lot of money, so he stayed in school.
  • O’Neal said he still hit stumbling blocks with his money, but that he was better off for staying in school.
  • Follow Business Insider’s 2019 NBA All-Star coverage here.

Shaquille O’Neal said his father gave him financial and educational advice through “one of the greatest quotes ever.”

Speaking on Thursday at Turner Sports’ media availability for the NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, O’Neal said if he had a do-over, he still wouldn’t be a one-and-done college player. O’Neal stayed at Louisiana State University for three years, leaving in 1992 for the NBA draft.

O’Neal said that though he wanted to leave for the NBA after one year, his father persuaded him to do otherwise.

“My father gave me one of the greatest quotes ever: ‘So you been broke for 18 years, you can be broke for 19 years,'” O’Neal said. “Because I wanted to come out my sophomore year. I said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It’s time for us to get some money.’

“He said, ‘Nah, you been broke for 18 years, you can be broke for 19 years.’ So I would have to be mentally ready, physically ready, and I would have to know what I was getting into.”

O’Neal said that even coming into the NBA, he had some trouble managing his money. He said he had to learn what FICA was, joking that he thought someone stole money from his check.

“I was making so much money, I had no idea what I was getting into,” O’Neal said. “So I had to kind of go back to school, figure out what certain things was. Like, I had never heard of FICA. I had to go back and ask one of my professors: ‘Who’s FICA? Some mistress took $US2 million off my check. Who is she?'”

O’Neal has previously discussed his financial missteps when he was younger. He told Business Insider in 2017 that he once spent $US1 million in one day by buying three Mercedes-Benz cars for himself, his mother, and father. He also purchased expensive jewellery and gifts for friends. After deducting taxes and his agent’s percentage, he realised he had spent all his money from a recent paycheck.

Read more:
SHAQ: How spending $US1 million in one day changed my financial strategy forever

O’Neal also told HBO’s “Real Sports” that he owned the record for Walmart’s biggest purchase after essentially furnishing his new home in one night there.

Read more:
Shaq has a wild story about spending $US70,000 at Walmart – the biggest purchase in company history

O’Neal said that getting extra education and financial advice was important for him and that he would encourage other players to do so with the NBA’s salaries rising.

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