“Are you sure you can afford it, sonny boy?” — When Shaquille O’Neal bought three Bentleys $600,000 to outbuy Mike Tyson
In a moment of being deceived by the oldest trick in the book, Shaquille O’Neal went ahead and purchased three Bentleys with the intention of outdoing Mike Tyson in terms of car ownership.
Shaquille O’Neal’s unabashed enthusiasm for cars has always been apparent, but the sheer magnitude of his obsession is truly astounding and will leave you in awe.
During his tenure with the Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal had an unforgettable experience when he paid a visit to a high-end car dealership and made an astonishing decision. In a single transaction, he astonishingly acquired not just one or two, but three luxurious Bentleys. Coincidentally, renowned boxer Mike Tyson happened to be present at the same dealership, and his presence played a role in igniting Shaq’s impulsive shopping spree.
Shaq was fooled by the oldest trick in the book.
In December of 1996, right after a Lakers team practice, Shaquille O’Neal had a memorable incident that he recounted in his book, “Shaq Uncut: My Story.” Despite being dressed in flip-flops and sweaty workout attire, Shaq impulsively decided to stop by a luxury car dealership known for its collection of expensive vehicles.
As he approached a stunning Bentley, he encountered an older, snobby salesman who immediately gave him a disdainful glare. Annoyed by the salesman’s attitude, Shaq asked about the price of the car. However, instead of receiving a straightforward answer, the salesman scrutinized Shaq from head to toe before condescendingly asking, “Are you sure you can afford it, sonny boy?” The remark deeply offended Shaq and left him feeling infuriated by the encounter.
In that particular moment, Shaquille O’Neal’s ego took control of him. While we cannot be entirely certain, it is reasonable to assume that the car salesman was well aware of Shaq’s celebrity status, considering his fame even before joining the Lakers. However, O’Neal was determined to prove the presumptuous salesman wrong. He embarked on a mission to defy expectations by purchasing a significant portion of the dealership’s inventory, undoubtedly resulting in the salesman earning his most substantial commission ever.
The circumstances surrounding this anecdote are undeniably captivating because, just as Shaquille O’Neal was determined to assert his worth to the car salesman, an unexpected visitor entered the dealership: none other than Mike Tyson, renowned as “The Baddest Man on the Planet.”
Amidst the scene, Shaq recognized Tyson’s distinctively squeaky voice and turned to see the boxer himself exploring the Bentley collection. To Shaq’s surprise, Tyson had already selected two cars for purchase. Fueled by a competitive spirit, Shaq felt compelled to outdo Tyson’s acquisition. In a decisive move, he approached the salesman, instructing him to secure the silver hardtop, the green one, and even the red Bentley parked nearby. Shaq’s resolve to buy three cars became a response to Tyson’s choice, further intensifying the friendly rivalry between the two iconic athletes.
Shaq could not even fit into the three cars he bought
After splurging approximately $600,000 on three Bentleys, Shaquille O’Neal faced an unexpected hurdle – he couldn’t comfortably drive them due to his immense size. To resolve this issue, Shaq had to invest additional funds, a few thousand dollars per car, to customize each vehicle so that he could physically fit inside and navigate the streets of Los Angeles.
One can only imagine the challenge Shaq encountered when he eventually decided to trade in the Bentleys after a year. As the cars were specifically modified to accommodate his 7-foot-1 stature, finding potential buyers willing to purchase customized vehicles designed for a giant like him was undoubtedly a difficult task.
The consequences of his impulsive spending didn’t end there. Shaq’s business manager, likely exasperated by the financial complications arising from such extravagant purchases, reportedly didn’t speak to him for two weeks. Managing Shaquille’s finances proved to be a formidable task, as persuading him to curb unnecessary expenditures once he had set his mind on something proved to be borderline impossible.
“My financial advisor, Lester Knispel, was incredibly upset with me, to the point that he didn’t speak to me for two weeks. Eventually, I believe he understood that I needed to go through that phase and get it out of my system. In all honesty, the cars themselves didn’t hold significant meaning for me. It was more about the concept of going from nothing to having dreams and fantasies of possessing all these extravagant things—and then suddenly, it wasn’t just a fantasy anymore. It became a reality. I could afford nearly anything I could imagine. But as time goes on, you realize that you don’t truly desire most of it.”
Fortunately, Shaq was able to strike a balance in his spending habits and ensure wise investments in the long run. Today, he stands as one of the wealthiest former NBA players, with an estimated net worth of around half a billion dollars. His financial journey demonstrates the importance of finding a sustainable approach to wealth management and discovering true fulfillment beyond material possessions.