Former National Basketball Association star center Shaquille O’Neal has returned to the NBA, this time with a seat in the owner’s box.
According to USA TODAY Sports, O’Neal recently purchased a minority percentage of the Sacramento Kings, officially adding the title of NBA team owner to his long portfolio of accomplishments.
USA TODAY Sports reported that O’Neal’s minority ownership rights are effective as of Sept. 23 where he will travel to Sacramento to meet with the Kings players, coaches and principle owner, Vivek Ranadive, who heads the group that purchased the Kings for $535 million earlier this year.
“I wanted to find somebody to add to the ownership group who truly represented 21st century basketball, who represented my vision of NBA 3.0, which is having an understanding of technology, wanting to build a global brand and being global in their thinking, and really being committed to having an impact in the community,” Ranadive told USA TODAY Sports.
Ironically, O’Neal was known for abusing the Kings during much of his playing career. He dominated the Kings almost annually during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, causing the Kings to play second fiddle while the Lakers went on to win three NBA championships from 2000-02.
He also verbally bashed the Sacramento franchise, referring to them as the Sacramento “Queens” during an interview in 2002.
Now he’s making it his personal responsibility to turn the Kings into one of the premiere attractions in the NBA.
“What interested me in this deal is the new vision, the new Kings, the new everything,” said O’Neal, who jokingly referred to himself as Dr. O’Neal, a play off the title of Dr. Jerry Buss, the late former Lakers owner, O’Neal actually did earn a doctoral degree in human resources development from Barry University in 2012.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of something like this. … It’s going to be great,” Shaq told the USA TODAY Sports reporter.
Reports say O‘Neal has already scheduled a private dinner meeting with the most high-profiled player on the Kings roster, center DeMarcus Cousin, to establish a mentorship with the young star.
"You hear people say all the time that [Cousins] is probably the most talented big man in the league, so now if you've got that behind your name, then everything else must follow," O'Neal told USA TODAY Sports. "I'm going to teach him a few things to add to his game."
He didn’t mention whether or not his new role as Kings minority owner will affect his current job as an analyst for TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show. However, it is possible that he can still do the show. Former Lakers teammate Magic Johnson served as an analyst for ESPN while he was minority owner of the Lakers.