Digital News Writer
Shaquille O’Neal has expressed interest in partnering with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a possible bid to buy one of his former basketball teams.
Talking to TMZ on Saturday, the NBA icon, 50, talked about potentially buying the Phoenix Suns, a former team of his that will partly be up for sale given Robert Sarver’s plans to sell following his one-year suspension after an independent investigation found the team’s owner “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards.”
"I was interested but when Big Man JB said he was interested, nobody can compete with Big Man JB," O'Neal said, nicknaming the Amazon executive as "Big Man JB."
He continued, "Once Jeff Bezos put his name in the hat, all you others just close your checkbook and go home."
"Nobody on this planet can compete with Big Man JB, and I'm not going to go up against Big Man JB," he said. "Because you know what? I just ordered 50 things off Amazon today. Big Man JB got that money coming in!"
Though O'Neal has no desire to compete against Bezos, 58, he's open to partnering with him.
"If he wants me on board, I would gladly like to talk to him," O'Neal said.
He added, "Let me tell you something, I'm scared of Big Man JB. Shaq O'Neal is scared of Big Man JB!"
O'Neal played for the Suns from 2008 to 2009 before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers.
News a portion of the team would be up for sale was revealed by Sarver last month, The Washington Post reported.
"As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness," the 60-year-old real estate developer said in a statement. "I expected that the commissioner's one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love."
He continued, "But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury."
The Suns is not the only team O’Neal has been vocal about buying. In June, during an episode of his podcast, O’Neal said he had his eye on purchasing the Orlando Magic.
“This message goes out to the DeVos family, if you’re ready to sell Orlando Magic, sell it to somebody who’s gonna take it to the next level, that’s us,” O’Neal said on The Big Podcast.
Orlando’s NBA team is currently owned by the DeVos family, who bought it in 1991 for $85 million, according to Sporting News. The family patriarch, Richard DeVos, transferred the ownership to his children, which include the husband of former secretary of education Betsy DeVos, before his death in 2018.
O'Neal was drafted by the organization in 1992.
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“Listen we still run that franchise [Magic]. If they wanna sell it to us, DeVos family, we’re ready to go right now,” he said, speaking on behalf of himself and former Magic player Dennis Scott, who also appeared on the podcast episode.
The DeVos family has not indicated any interest in selling the team, but O'Neal said he's ready if the call comes in. "We got the money, you ain't got to worry about that," he said.
O'Neal is probably best known for his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, but the hall of fame star has long held a strong passion for the Orlando team that drafted him.
Digital News Writer