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Shaquille O'Neal invests in FORTO Coffee—after saying passing on Starbucks is his 'biggest mistake'

Shaquille O'Neal
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Retired professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal may be kicking himself over a missed opportunity to invest in Starbucks, but he's not letting another coffee-related investment opportunity pass him by.

In June, O'Neal became an investor in Dyla Brands, which makes FORTO coffee shots, according to BevNET. O'Neal also signed on as the face of a $20 million media campaign for the coffee shot product. The size of his investment has not been disclosed.

On Tuesday, O'Neal shared his first round of FORTO-branded posts on Twitter.

In a video clip, captioned "The secret to Shaq energy," the former NBA star holds a FORTO coffee shot and says, "You know what happens when I drink one of these? This is what happens." In the next scene, O'Neal takes the stage at a hyped DJ set, which serves as a metaphor for how energizing the tiny shots are.

In addition to sharing FORTO-branded posts with his 33.5 million followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, O'Neal will also star in several TV ads and accompany the brand at select trade events, FORTO CEO and founder Neel Premkumar told BevNET.

It makes sense that O'Neal would want to collaborate with a well-known coffee brand. After all, he's seen how it's worked out for former NBA player Magic Johnson, who paired up with Starbucks back in 1998.

"My biggest mistake was not investing in Starbucks," O'Neal tells CNBC Make It. "I had the opportunity before Magic Johnson but I told Howard Schultz that black people don't drink coffee because I never seen anyone in my family drink coffee, " he says, referring to Starbucks' former CEO.

Although O'Neal regrets his Starbucks decision, he's been successful in other areas of business. Not only was he an early investor in Google and Apple, but he also owns 17 Auntie Anne's, a Krispy Kreme franchise and several other service businesses.

To decide what to invest in, O'Neal draws inspiration from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. "I heard Jeff Bezos say one time [that] he makes his investments based on if it's going to change people's lives," O'Neal told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. "Once I started doing that strategy, I think I probably quadrupled what I'm worth."

O'Neal doesn't invest in companies solely for the profit. "If something comes across my desk and I don't believe in it, I don't even look at it," he said. "Whenever I do business, it's not about the money."

FORTO appears to be a brand Shaq truly believes in. As Premkumar told BevNET: "He got in touch and told us 'I'm drinking this all the time. Literally, this little coffee gives Big Shaq energy.' It was an amazing revelation for him that if this works for him, it's going to work for everybody."

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