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How 'brilliant' Jeff Bezos helps guide Shaquille O'Neal's own business strategy

Sarah Smith
Segment Producer/Booker

Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has won four championships, multiple basketball awards and 15 all-star game selections during his 19-year basketball career, earning him a place in the NBA hall of fame.

Even with many accolades on and off the court, the ex-Los Angeles Laker and 7-foot entrepreneur looks up to other business leaders for inspiration — and one in particular.

Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos is “very brilliant in how he thinks,” O’Neal told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview. O’Neal has lavished praise on Bezos’ business acumen, and complemented the world’s richest man for helping to add to his own post-basketball net worth.

So how does that influence O’Neal he approaches his business dealings?

“My method is old school. Of course there’s a lot of money to be thrown around but when you’re raised by a military drill sergeant, you have to do business honestly,” he explained.

When approaching CEOs and business leaders, O’Neal added that “If I don’t use your product as a man I can’t take your money.” That guiding principle extends to his current range of business interests, he said.

“Doesn’t matter what you offer me,” O’Neal said. “I just can’t do it. Because it’s not the right thing to do.”

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 18: US Olympic "Dream Team III" basketball player Shaquille O'Neal holds his Los Angeles Lakers uniform jersey 18 July during a press conference by the team in Atlanta. O'Neal signed a seven-year, 123-million USD contract with the Lakers making it the richest deal in sports history. (Photo credit should read MICHEL GAGNE/AFP/Getty Images)

The retired basketball star has scored big in business since retiring. O’Neal said he’s made more money through his investments than he did playing basketball.

Shaq has built an impressive business empire of his own, ranging from Papa John’s (PZZA)Reebok and Carnival Cruise Line (CCL), among others.

The NBA great’s membership on the board of embattled Papa John’s raised eyebrows when it was announced. Yet O’Neal told Yahoo Finance that the company’s made big improvements in culture and leadership.

“We’re just trying to change the culture right now,” he said, citing Papa John’s investment in community projects and more diverse hiring.

Recently, O’Neal entered a partnership with Epson, a brand he has used throughout his basketball and business career. “Even if I didn't have this Epson deal I’m still going to use their printers,” he said.

Sarah Smith is a Segment Producer/Booker at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahasmith

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