Five Guys' Surprising Shaquille O'Neal Connection

If you thought your love for Five Guys was unmatched, Shaquille O'Neal might have you beat. The basketball legend is such a big fan of the fast-food chain that he reportedly bought not one, not two, but a whopping 155 Five Guys franchises (via 2 paragraphs). That's equivalent to roughly 10% of all Five Guys across the U.S.

Considering O'Neal raked in $300 million during his 19 years with the NBA, it comes as no surprise that he was able to spare a few of his big bucks to invest in Five Guys. Though at the time he purportedly paid $77.5 million for his franchises, Five Guys eventually became America's fastest growing restaurant chain (via Forbes). In other words, his passion for burgers and fries literally paid off.

According to O'Neal, however, buying 155 Five Guys franchises wasn't a random, lucky decision (via CNBC). In an interview with CNBC's "HalfTime Report," O'Neal shared that managing his money has always been a conscious effort, instilled in him from a young age. "Even when I was making a lot of money playing basketball, I would come home and see my father, and he would say, 'what are you doing with your money?'" O'Neal recalled.

Shaquille O'Neal sold the Five Guys franchises and started his own fast-food restaurant

Though Shaquille O'Neal could have easily kept his Five Guys franchises, he decided to sell every single one in 2016. The reason, he explained to "HalfTime Report," is that he's smart enough to not put all his eggs in one basket. Not only does he still hold an original Google stock, at the time of the 2018 interview, O'Neal had just invested in Ring, which is now a name brand in the home security business, and opened up his own fast-food joint Big Chicken (via NRN). "Money doesn't last forever," O'Neal told CNBC of his financial decisions. "You gotta save it, you gotta invest it, and you gotta be smart."

O'Neal may be savvy with his investments, but he explained there's no other way to go about it, especially as a former basketball player. "A lot of athletes when they're done playing have no income, and they go broke, and I never wanted to be like that," he shared. Whether it be with Five Guys, Google, or with the cartoon General we see in his insurance ads, O'Neal makes sure his money is always in good hands.