The intimidation of going up against one of the richest men in the world is enough to make anyone willing to back down from a competition — even one of the most popular athletes in the world. (And even with that height difference.)
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal took to his podcast The Big Podcast with Shaq this week to talk about how he was thinking about throwing his hat in the ring to purchase the Phoenix Suns. The rumored front-runners include former Disney CEO Bob Iger, billionaire Elon Musk, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
After seeing Bezos’ name, Shaq decided to bow out completely.
“I was open [to the idea of purchasing the team] until I saw the initials JB. Let me tell you something, you don’t mess with James Brown, you don’t mess with Jeff Bezos,” Shaq said candidly. “When the boys come on stage, get your a** and go. So, Jeff said he wants it and a couple of other heavy hitters said they want it. I’m not even gonna put my name in the bucket on this one.”
The NBA team is up for sale following a slew of scandals involving current owner Robert Sarver and his inappropriate behavior, including the reported use of racial slurs on multiple occasions.
A bid for an NBA team has long been a goal of O’Neal’s, who currently has a franchise portfolio estimated at over $100 million which includes multiple locations of Auntie Anne’s, Papa John’s, Krispy Kreme, and more.
Back in June, Shaq expressed interest in purchasing the Orlando Magic from the current owners, the DeVos family.
“This message goes out to the DeVos family: If you’re ready to sell Orlando Magic, sell it to somebody who’s gonna take it to the next level, that’s us,” he said on his podcast, referring to himself and former teammate Dennis Scott who was a guest on the podcast.
Bezos has not yet publicly commented on his desire to purchase the team.