There has been nobody in the NBA more multifaceted than Shaquille O’Neal. On the hardwood, the 7′ 1″, 350-pound juggernaut never found it tough going against some of the greatest players of all time. Off it, he was no less a rock star. Rapping, acting, business, entrepreneurship, you name it, “The Diesel” did it all. And some of it, even before Michael Jordan.
It’s a well-known fact in the NBA community that Julius Erving was the major inspiration behind Shaq becoming a basketball player. And so, he followed everything that Dr. J did. Apart from humiliating opponents on the basketball court, that included acting in movies.
Shaquille O’Neal Beat Michael Jordan And Space Jam To Hollywood With ‘Blue Chips’
After selling a million copies of the 1993 album Shaq Diesel, the first rap album of his music career, Shaq debuted in Hollywood in 1994 with ‘Blue Chip’. Going against his agent’s advice.
O’Neal played the role of “Neon Boudreaux”, and his Orlando Magic teammate, Penny Hardaway played “Butch McRae”, both of whom acted alongside Matt Nover (Ricky Roe). They portrayed the role of young basketball players in the movie.
Michael Jordan’s ‘Space Jam’ came two years later. So, officially, Shaq did beat MJ at something — making it to Hollywood first!
It was the 21-year-old’s plan to 1-up MJ, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird in their commercial games. Listen to insider Jackie MacMullan talk about it on her Icons Club Podcast. However, The big Aristotle could just make around 10% of the money Jordan would make with his debut.
Blue Chips had a reported budget of around $35 million but it made just $26 million through domestic and international collection. Including how much is spent on marketing, the loss could have been anywhere between $9 million to a whopping $70 million.
Space Jam, on the other hand, made a mammoth $250 million across the globe and is still considered one of the best sports movies of all time.
Shaq and Jordan’s acting attempts might have been shot at taking their brand values higher
Both Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are some of the biggest names in both the sports and business world. While the former made most of his $2 billion through Nike’s ‘Air Jordan’, the $400 million worth Lakers legend did it through several investments and ventures he has been a part of, dating back to his playing days.
It didn’t happen overnight. They worked like nobody else to keep increasing the ceiling for their brand names. And it paid off for both the legends in the best possible way.