‘I Want It All For Myself’: Shaquille O’Neal Sets His Sights On Bringing NBA Team To Las Vegas
Hall of Famer and five-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal is making his bid for ownership of an NBA expansion team in Las Vegas, The Messenger reports.
O’Neal has lived in Sin City for two decades and owns the popular fast-food chain Big Chicken and other businesses in the area. Now he’s ready to make an even bigger imprint by joining the ranks of players turned sports owners.
At his annual charity gala benefiting The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, he said, “I love it here. Las Vegas has always been a city you knew was going to grow. You could see different casinos, different real estate projects, and different nightclubs popping up. I’ve always been a part of it. I used to own one of the hottest nightclubs, sold it, and now I got nine, 10 restaurants here. I’m doing very, very well, and I want to continue to grow with Vegas.”
The NBA hosts its annual Summer League in Las Vegas, and the WNBA’s reigning champion, Las Vegas Aces, have grown in popularity with the presence of players A’Ja Wilson and Candace Parker.
Though the league has made no comments as to whether there are plans to bring one of the country’s biggest sports to one of the country’s most notable tourist attractions, some pretty big names in basketball have already expressed similar interests. According to The Messenger, current Lakers player and newly minted billionaire LeBron James has been vocal about his desire to be part of any ownership group that might vie to bring a new franchise to Las Vegas upon his retirement. However, it doesn’t seem like James and O’Neal will own the same team, as the latter has his sights on flying solo.
“I would like to have my own group,” O’Neal said. “I know Vegas hasn’t been awarded an NBA team yet, but if they ever get to a point where they are awarded a team, I would like to be a part of that. I don’t want to partner up with nobody. I want it all for myself.”