Shaquille O’Neal is giving 100% effort in his role with Reebok

O’Neal opens up about his intentions to bring basketball back at Reebok.

Shaquille O'Neal, Angel Reese, Allen Iverson, Reebok,
Shaquille O'Neal attends 'Shaq's Fun House' at XS nightclub at Encore Las Vegas on February 09, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

As Reebok gears up for a triumphant return to basketball with Shaquille O’Neal at the helm, the Hall of Famer is pledging his full devotion to the mission.

“Listen, we’re getting back into basketball,” O’Neal said during Reebok’s annual brand summit in March, per The New York Times. “And I want everyone in here to understand there are no excuses. Everyone needs to be 100% in on this because I’m 100% in on this.”

In October, the brand named O’Neal president of basketball and announced another NBA legend, Allen Iverson, as vice president. Both Iverson and O’Neal have history with Reebok, particularly during its heyday in basketball apparel during the ’90s and early ’00s. Reebok hopes to recapture that era’s success with O’Neal and Iverson, who each played a major role back then.

A new line is slated for release in early 2025. While the company hasn’t provided details on what’s coming and when to expect it, the wheels have been turning since O’Neal and Iverson came aboard. O’Neal wants a product that will “make noise,” especially in today’s digital native world.

He said major sports brands used to sell shoes and apparel by partnering with high-profile players, but that’s no longer the case. “Now, it’s bloggers, emcees, athletes, designers,” he said.

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However, the brand still hopes buzzworthy players have pull. O’Neal urged Reebok to partner with Angel Reese, a former LSU player grad (like O’Neal). She’s among the WNBA’s most popular rookies after being drafted in the first round by the Chicago Sky last month.

“She’s like a daughter to me,” O’Neal said. “She’s fearless. She’s herself.”

Beyond teaming up with new players like Reese, O’Neal is excited about Iverson’s return. He noted the former Philadelphia 76er has a different pull in the basketball world. 

“If I’m a guard and I get a call from Shaq? Meh. But if I get a call from A.I., that’s a different story,” he said. 

As the relaunch moves further ahead, O’Neal isn’t letting the steep competition deter him. According to Business Insider, Nike reported gross revenue of roughly $51 billion in 2023, while Adidas pulled in around $23 billion. Meanwhile, Reebok’s annual revenue was $2.3 billion. The figures aren’t to suggest booming success. Business Insider reports that these are hard times for sporting goods companies. In March, Adidas reported its first annual loss in more than 30 years. In February, Nike announced plans to cut around 2% of its workforce — more than 1,600 jobs.

Nonetheless, O’Neal is pushing forward. “Nike has a lot of players,” he told the Times. “Adidas has some OK players, but no one I’m worried about, trust me.”