Magic Johnson got me into business: Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal, businessman
Shaquille O'Neal, businessman

For basketball great Shaquille O'Neal, 1992 was a defining year.

Bill Griffeth, Kelly Evans and Shaquille O'Neal at the New York Stock Exchange, April 14, 2014.
Source: Manuel Fuentes | CNBC

Drafted by the Orlando Magic, O'Neal was the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft and went on to win Rookie of the Year for the 1992–93 season. But it was a conversation that year with five-time NBA champion Earvin "Magic" Johnson that changed his course in life, especially life after pro basketball.

"I met Magic in 1992 and his words to me were, 'It's OK to be famous, but you want to start owning things,'" O'Neal told CNBC on Monday.

A three-time Most Valuable Player and 12-time all-star, Johnson has engaged in numerous business pursuits after his illustrious NBA career. Johnson was a part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, purchased Starbucks franchises and a line of movie theaters. Today, he is part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, among many other projects.

Read MoreHow Starbucks' Howard Schultz got Magic Johnson into business

Bill Griffeth and Shaquille O'Neal at the New York Stock Exchange, April 14, 2014.
Source: Manuel Fuentes | CNBC

Back in his rookie season, at just 20 years old, O'Neal took Magic's advice to heart. O'Neal went on to become an early investor in Google and currently sponsors fitness center chain operator 24 Hour Fitness. Earlier this year, O'Neal invested in The Original SoupMan line of canned soups and food trucks operators.

"I model my whole brand after the Magic Johnson brand," said O'Neal in an interview from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Read MoreShaq hopes soup investment is a slam dunk

Today, O'Neal hopes to score with yet another investment: a menswear line at Macy's. "We wanted to do something very, very cool for all-sized men," O'Neal said.

—By CNBC's Drew Sandholm.