Pro athletes have a rather unusual job. Sure, many of them make more money than you or I could dream of but it’s filled with unknowns and a career that at best, ends in your late 30s.
One thing that pro athletes deal with at times is when they are traded, their life immediately turns upside down. Not only do they have to deal with a new team, they have to adjust to a new city, a new place to live and if they have a family, new schools, new everything.
So when Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Phoenix Suns, he had nothing in Phoenix and likely happened so fast that he couldn’t just move everything from Miami. In an interview with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Shaq told a story about going to Walmart to spend $70k on the things he needed for his new apartment.
I don’t know how one could spend $70k at Walmart even if they wanted to, but it apparently can be done. And according to Shaq, it was the largest purchase in the history of the store. It was even so high that the card was initially declined because American Express thought someone stole Shaq’s card.
“I get traded from Miami and I go to Phoenix. And I’m very impatient. They’ve already got the apartment sent up, but I ain’t got nothin’. I ain’t got no towels. I ain’t got no pots and pans. I ain’t got no TVs.”
Interviewer: “Come on. You went to Walmart to furnish your house?
“Yes. Yes. Yes. All day every day. Pans, socks, underwear, tank tops, TVs, printers, computers. So I get to the cash register and click it and it says declined. And I’m like, “Declined?” I wipe it off. Declined. So security team from American Express calls me say, “Hey man, somebody stole your credit card. They at Walmart.” I said, “No sir, that’s me.” “What the fuck are you buying.” I said, “It’s me sir.” So they turned it back on, got a couple trucks and bam.”
Shaq’s worth hundreds of millions so him spending $70k is probably like if I spent $20 at Walmart. But I really want to know the look on the cashier’s face when they see not only Shaquille O’Neal in their lane but with $70k worth of products. I get a snide comment from the cashier when I buy more than four bags of Doritos, can’t imagine how it is seeing an apartments worth of items.