During his early days with the Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal once visited a luxury car dealership and bought not one, not two, but three Bentleys in a single purchase. Interestingly, the legendary boxer Mike Tyson found himself in the same car dealership that day, and he is partly accountable for sparking Shaq’s shopping spree.
“I’m wearing my flip-flops and my sweats and I’m all sweaty and looking a little raggedy, but I’m driving by the Rolls Royce place and I decide to stop in. I’m looking at this beautiful Bentley and this old, stuck-up white guy, a classic car salesman, is giving me the evil eye, so I say to him, ‘How much is this car?’ He looks me up and down and says, ‘Are you sure you can afford it, sonny boy?’ I was so ticked off. I was really, really offended.”
It was at this particular moment that Shaq let his ego get the best of him.
The circumstances of this anecdote are genuinely fascinating because, as Shaq was making sure the car salesman understood he was worth the money, Mike Tyson aka. ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ entered the dealership.
“While I’m standing there I hear this kind of squeaky voice that sounds familiar and there he is—Mike Tyson, the boxer. He’s looking at Bentleys, too. Next thing I know Tyson has picked out two. He’s buying two of these cars, so you know what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to buy three! I grab the salesman and I say, ‘I want that silver hardtop one, and I want the green one, and give me that red one over there, too.'”
Shaq could not even fit into the three cars he bought
After spending somewhere in the vicinity of $600,000 for three Bentleys, he could not even drive; Shaq had to make custom adjustments on each car that cost a couple of grand per car so that he could physically sit inside them and drive around La-La Land.
One can only imagine how difficult it was to trade in the three Bentleys a year later when Shaq got tired of them, as they were custom-made to fit a 7-foot-1 giant.
Shaq’s business manager didn’t talk to him for two weeks
Managing Shaquille’s finances must have been a nightmare because it was borderline impossible to convince Shaq not to unnecessarily splurge money once he’s already made his mind up.
Fortunately for Shaq, he found the right balance of spending in the long run and made sure to invest wisely, as he is currently one of the wealthiest former NBA players with an accumulated net worth of roughly half a billion dollars.