Many a sneaker aficionado were left scratching their head when Shaquille O’Neal decided to leave sportswear cornerstone Reebok and start his own Walmart-backed sneaker brand, SHAQ.
Well, as it turns out it was a woman who was upset about the price of sneakers that convinced Shaq to go it solo on the sneaker tip. As Yahoo reports, the NBA legend was a guest on the Full Scale podcast this past Wednesday (August 25) and during the interview revealed that he walked away from a $40 million dollar deal with Reebok after getting confronted by a woman who went off on him for selling sneakers that young kids just couldn’t afford.
“That day, I cut ties with Reebok,” he said of forgoing a $40 million deal he had with the brand following a moment of clarity. “I said keep the money… this ain’t right. I’ll still wear the shoes I do during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing,” he said. “So, I started the Shaq brand. I went to my favorite store, Walmart, and we did a deal. I was in all stores and my price point for the shoes was $29-$19 and since then we sold over 400 million pairs.” He added that he brought on designers from Reebok to join him in the new Walmart venture. “It’s not kids that don’t want to wear $20 shoes, they don’t want to wear shoes that look like they cost $20.”
We feel like Michael Jordan wouldn’t have been swayed so easily, but then again, Mike is known for not giving a f*ck. Just ask them kids from Chris Paul’s basketball camp from a few years back.
Still, it’s pretty impressive that Walmart’s Shaq shoes moved 400 million units in an era where it’s all about Jordans, Dunks, and Yeezy’s. What percentage of those sales Shaquille gets we don’t know, but if he even gets a quarter per sale that man is making a killing. Props to Shaq for the wise business venture. That man doesn’t know how to lose even off the court.