Photo: Getty
  /  09.15.2022

During an interview on “Be Better Off Show” last week (Sept. 5), basketball legend and businessman Shaquille O’Neal opened up about paying for 15 of his friends to earn their master’s degrees because the university couldn’t teach a physical class with one student.

O’Neal said he noticed that every time he walked into business meetings, people would only talk to his representatives because they didn’t think that he understood the language of business. Seeing that prompted him to apply for his master’s degree at the University of Phoenix so he could prove them wrong.

“I noticed that every time I go to a business meeting, the guys we’re doing deals with will be like, ‘Hello Shaq, how are you doing?’ and then they would turn away and look at my lawyers, accountants, and all those guys. 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 masters from the University of Phoenix,” O’Neal said.

“The University of Phoenix is an online program mostly,” he continued. “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.”

The four-time NBA champion has made excellent use of his degree and reportedly has a net worth of $400 million. According to AfroTech, the 50-year-old currently owns several Big Chicken restaurants in Las Vegas. The franchise currently has 10 locations in Las Vegas and has expanded to several states, including California, New York and Ohio. O’Neal is a joint owner of several Papa John’s, Krispy Kreme, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, over 100 car washes, and 40 24-hour fitness centers. Additionally, he owns parts of Playboy, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and JCPenney.

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