Black Enterprise
Shaquille ONeal Image Credit: Black Enterprise
Shaquille ONeal Image Credit: Black Enterprise

I Want to Be a Triple Threat

I always loved Papa John's. I was introduced to it in ’89 in Baton Rouge Louisiana when I didn’t have a lot of money but I had enough money for a big ol’ Shaqaroni pizza—sausage, pepperoni, extra cheese.

By Shaquille O'Neal

Every time I came in, they already knew what I want. And what I love about Papa John’s, they had quality ingredients, great taste, and better customer service.

With this particular deal with Papa John’s, they didn’t come to me, I came to them. They sponsored my Shaq’s Fun House event and I got to see the CEO, Mr. Steve Ritchie, and I said I want to talk to you. I want to own some franchises. And you need some new leadership, you got to be diverse with your leadership. He said what do you mean? I was like you need some new leadership. All that nonsense, that definitely has to go. When I’m eating my pizza, I don’t want to hear nothing about no politics. I don’t want to hear nothing about no sports. Pizza is fun.

Next time he came back he brought Jeff Smith, the chairman of the board. And he said what would you like to do? I said I would like to have a triple threat with you guys. I want to be on the board, you need a more diverse board. He said OK. I want to be a franchisee; I want to own up to 10 stores. They agree to that. And I want to be an ambassador to the brand.

When the debacle was going on, you know who I felt for? The 800 franchisees. They’re your neighbors, my neighbors, they’re regular people trying to look out for their family. They didn’t do anything wrong. So as of toda


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