Money

How a random 'babysitting' job in the '90s led to Shaq investing in Google

Shaquille 'Shaq' O'Neal.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Shaquille 'Shaq' O'Neal.

Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal was certainly a winner on the basketball court during his sports career, but now his success comes in the form of savvy investments. On Monday, O'Neal sat down with Ellen DeGeneres on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and revealed the serendipitous story behind one of his best investments: Google — pre-IPO.

O'Neal explains that when he first got to Los Angeles in the '90s, he was at a Four Seasons Hotel, playing with another guest's children sitting at the next table.

"I'm actually babysitting the guy's kids while he's in a meeting," O'Neal says. "So after the meeting, he says, 'You know what? You're good with kids, I like you, I'm going to bring you in on this investment.' And it was called Google. He said, 'You know, in the future, you're going to be able to type on your phone, search engine this, do this, boom, boom, boom, you should invest.'

"I invested, and then a couple years later, I got a really big return," he adds.

O'Neal did not say how much he invested, but early investments in Google (which went public in 2004) have paid off big.

Since then, O'Neal has accumulated an impressive portfolio, including investments in Apple, 24 Hour Fitness, Five Guys and nightclubs in Las Vegas.

O'Neal recently told CNBC's Bob Pisani about his simple investing style, and said that he follows one rule: investing in things that are going to change people's lives.

"I never say, 'If I invest in this, five years down the line, we could sell it for this,'" he told Pisani. "Every time I've had that model, it's always been a failure."

While he retired from basketball in 2011 — after an impressive 19 year career — O'Neal is still making money from his numerous business ventures and investments. In 2016, Forbes reported that the former basketball star's net worth is over $400 million.

Despite his wealth, though, O'Neal is smart about his money: He reportedly saves 75 percent of his earnings and lives off the other 25 percent.

He's also instilling financial responsibility in his six children. During Monday's segment on "Ellen," O'Neal revealed the rules he currently has in place for his kids.

"My most famous rule is, in order to touch any of my cheese, you have to present me two degrees," he explains.

"Cheese means money. So, their father's very successful. So as a father, I'm not going to give them handouts. They have to get a bachelor's and a master's," O'Neal adds.

"So they're not in the will unless they get two degrees?" DeGeneres asks.

"Exactly," O'Neal responds.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct when Shaquille O'Neal learned of the Google investment.

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