It looks like Shaquille O’Neal added a new title to his post-basketball resume. The Inside the NBA co-host has joined Papa John’s board of directors, CNN reports. As an ambassador for the pizza chain, the former athlete will rake in $8.25 million in a three-year endorsement deal. O’Neal also invested in nine Papa John’s stores in Atlanta, Georgia.
This isn’t the 47-year-old’s first dive in the food world. In 2016, the NBA Hall-of-Famer bought a Krispy Kreme located in Atlanta, he opened Big Chicken in Las Vegas, and recently, his self-titled restaurant debuted in Los Angeles.
“Shaquille has an excellent entrepreneurial background, including as a restaurant franchise owner, and is a natural creative marketer,” Jeff Smith, Chairman of Papa John’s Board of Directors, said in a statement.
O’Neal also expressed his enthusiasm with his latest partnership. “I have truly enjoyed the high-quality Papa John’s product for years and am excited to be able to help Papa John’s raise their game to new heights,” he said. “This is a triple threat opportunity for me. I am excited to join the board and to help lead from the top, while also investing in nine stores in my home town [sic] of Atlanta and being an ambassador to the brand.”
The father-of-six appears to be the saving grace for the company after a series of public scandals over the past year and a half; Papa John’s founder was accused of using a racial slur. Since the announcement, the brand’s stock has gone up five percent.
Time for a pizza party! I’m excited to join @PapaJohns as a member of the Board of Directors and investor in 9 stores in #Atlanta. Excited to work with Papa John’s team members and customers – more here: https://t.co/PRXG7ORtFk pic.twitter.com/c5uj5BRuQ1