by Daniel Olsen
Three months ago, the Utah Jazz announced the Miller family sold the team to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for $1.6 billion. Now, a familiar face has expressed interest in taking part ownership: Shaquille O’Neal.
The former Lakers star was known for battling with the Jazz in several playoff series. He once led Los Angeles to a rousing chorus of “Utah’s going down” before being promptly swept out of the Western Conference Finals in 1998. Now, he has had a change of heart and invested money in hopes that the Utah’s stock will be going up.
“I just want to motivate Donovan Mitchell and this promising young team,” O’Neal said. “You’re welcome Utah. The Diesel is in business to bring a ring to your home where the Buffalo roam.”
O’Neal said the interview with Donovan Mitchell several months ago inspired him. He criticized Mitchell for not having what it takes to get to the next level. Mitchell’s response?
“I knew right then and there that’s a superhero.” said O’Neal. “That’s like a real Spider-Man right there in Utah. Like they say in the movie, with great power comes great responsibility. So I’m just trying to let him know he’s gotta put in work to live up to the hype.”
O’Neal hopes his brand will help encourage other players to want to come to Utah. He has also appeared in commercials, his movie Shazaam, and has looked to trademark “Hack-A-Shaq” in addition to “Shaqtin a fool”.
How much is this partnership costing O’Neal? He is paying 50 million dollars for the rights to a car auto dealership, Vivint Arena restaurant, movie theater and Qualtrics survey named after him.
“We about to win a banner in Utah.” said O’Neal. “LA and Brooklyn we coming for you. Why I just might come out of retirement myself! I can show the 200 million dollar man Rudy Gobert how to dominate as a big.”
We hope you enjoyed this article on April 1, 2021. To see other articles published on this special holiday, click on the following links to see what we wrote about the Jazz, Aggies, Utes and Cougars in previous years.