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Published: July 1, 2021

Written by: Barney

  • In an interview with The Washington Post, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal spoke about esports and how he came to associate competitive gaming with the future
  • The basketball legend is known as one of the first athletes who invested in the esports industry
  • Shaq is convinced in the longevity of esports and is firm that competitive gaming will continue developing.

Shaquille O’Neal was among the first sports stars who showed interest in the developing esports industry. He revealed how he came to believe in its potential. 

“The Kids Dictate What’s Going to be”

Shaquille O’Neal was one of the first professional athletes in a traditional sport who saw the potential of competitive gaming. He was among the first investors who supported an esports organization, namely NRG esports

However, esports weren’t O’Neal’s introduction to gaming. Back in 1994, he received his very own video game called “Shaq Fu,” which recently received a remaster. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Shaq spoke about his esports investments and how he came to believe in the prospects of gaming. O’Neal revealed that he doesn’t merely invest for money but rather invests in things that he believes in. 

The NBA legend told the interviewer about his first meeting with esports – when Shaq was in California, his kids took him to an esports event. He was moved by the excitement of the young people at the event and decided to learn more and get involved. 

“When it comes to technology, kids dictate what’s going to be and what’s not going to be,” Shaq said.

He elaborated how the youth has immense power over the market and how things like Tik Tok became a staple in marketing because of that. 

Shaq’s Experience with Gaming and Esports Investments

Despite investing in NRG and following the team’s activities, Shaq admitted that he rarely has the time to look up what’s happening on the larger esports scene. However, he said that at some point, he would like to take a break and invest his time in learning to play Call of Duty. 

When asked how he feels about the industry’s development, O’Neal revealed that what he was most surprised by is how quickly esports players burn out and how fast the big names in esports change.

The interviewer asked Shaq how he feels like one of the most prominent esports investors among basketball players, to which the legend responded that he doesn’t really care what other investors are doing. He reminded that for him, investments are not merely dealt for money but rather partnerships that enable him to learn and grow. 

Shaq added that when he started investing, he never doubted the potential longevity of esports, but he is still surprised by how much gaming has grown. 

O’Neal was asked if he thinks esports will surpass movies and sports leagues such as the NBA in popularity. He replied that he is not quite sure as he lacks the professional expertise but is convinced and hopeful that esports are here to stay. 

Shaq revealed that his favorite video game is NBA Jam.

Shaq is one of the sports athletes that pioneered esports investing. However, in recent times, traditional sports have been becoming more and more receptive to collaborating with esports. Even the Olympic Committee finally greenlit an official esports event

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