Signing with Nike is every athlete's dream. As the leading brand in the business, they have a network that extends far and wide.
For a young Shaquille O'Neal, signing with Nike would have, no doubt, jump-started his career -- and it's an opportunity not many would have passed up.
But according to O'Neal himself, he actually sabotaged his own meeting with Nike to sign with another brand instead.
Here's the story, where he literally wore a Reebok jacket during a meeting with Nike executives.
“Nike, they had like four or five people and it was always my dream to have a signature shoe. So when I went to Reebok, they was going to give me a signature shoe. Because I already had my Shaq emblem. I already had all the commercials. I had everything done in my head on how I wanted to go. So when I went to Reebok, they said they were going to do it,” Shaq said on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
But we promised Nike that we would listen to them. So I wore my Reebok jacket to the Nike meeting. So I came back, and I signed with Reebok.”
Shaq was determined to get his own signature shoe, to the point where he was willing to cut ties with a company like Nike to get it.
Nowadays, Shaq is actually a part-owner of Reebok, which is pretty cool considering he's been with them for such a long time now.
This isn't the first time O'Neal has shared some details on his relationship with Reebok, however. Back in August, on the "Full Send" podcast, he told the following story about why he once decided to cut ties with the shoe company:
“I had a Reebok deal, 40 (million) for five (years),” Shaq said in the Full Send Podcast. “And I’m leaving the arena one day and this lady she’s ripping me like, ‘You mutherf—ers charging these babies all this money for the shoes!'
I thought about it. I was like, ‘You know what, she’s right.’ So that day, I cut ties with Reebok,” Shaq said. “… I told them I said, ‘Keep the money. This ain’t right. Don’t want to make it no fight. I’ll still wear the shoes and I’ll wear it during the season, but I’ll be looking to do my own thing.'”
So, it seems that Shaq has a rather complicated history with Reebok. It's been a rather up-and-down partnership.
But, apparently, they're on pretty good terms now -- and while Reebok is no Nike, they are certainly rising in the ranks of the NBA community.