For NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal as an investor, food is a big and natural part of the XXL Shaq portfolio. For diners looking for that Shaq personal touch, a visit to the newly opened Shaquille’s across from the Staples Center is a must-visit — the big man himself promises that each dish will be “shaqcrumptious.”
But Shaq shook the pizza world up last week, putting his heavy foot down in the Papa John’s boardroom, the popular pizza delivery company. Papa John’s named the Big Aristotle to its Board of Directors and announced that Shaq had invested personally in nine stores in the Atlanta area. Nine stores may not seem like a lot considering that O’Neal is a part owner of 150 Five Guys burger restaurants. But when you consider Shaq is on the Board of Directors for the entire Papa John’s corporate enterprise, that gives the big man an interest in what is currently more than 5,200 Papa John’s pizza locations — including dozens in far-flung locations like China. (Papa John’s headquarters is in Louisville, Kentucky.) As far as grub goes, the score for Shaq right now is Pizza 5200, Burgers 150.
The frontier for pizza ordering — like everything else — is digital, of course, and Shaq’s huge presence on social media will be at least as important to Papa John’s as his big presence in the boardroom. (Just as Blaze Pizza gets a lot of social media juice from that other NBA legend and pizza entrepreneur, LeBron James.) It’s hard to think of a better, hungrier celebrity investor for Papa John’s that Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq’s humor and business cunning are just what the brand needs.
Time for a pizza party! I’m excited to join @PapaJohns as a member of the Board of Directors and investor in 9 stores in #Atlanta. Excited to work with Papa John’s team members and customers – more here: https://t.co/PRXG7ORtFk pic.twitter.com/c5uj5BRuQ1
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) March 22, 2019