Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shaquille O’Neal Delivers Sports Law Lecture at Harvard Law School

Boston Celtics center and future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal recently spoke at Harvard Law School Professor Peter Carfagna's sports law class. He was accompanied by his agent, Perry Rogers, and by Celtics Assistant General Manager & Associate Counsel Mike Zarren.

Shaq is no stranger to higher education. After playing 8 seasons in the NBA, he completed his college degree from Louisiana State University in 2000 (and, in doing so, helped to show that players who leave school early can always go back and earn a degree). Five years later, Shaq earned his MBA from the University of Phoenix. He is now a handful of credits away from earning a Ph.D. in Human Resource Development, with aspirations for running for Sheriff in Central Florida once he retires from the league.

Shaq spoke to the law students about managing his brand and publicity rights issues, among other topics. Jill Greenfield of Harvard Law School's communications office has the story on Shaq's visit. Here are some excerpts:
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In fact, O’Neal’s management of his brand began well before he signed an NBA contract or any endorsement deals. When he was in high school, he created his own emblem based on his dunk style and trademarked it as the DUNKMAN, in case he ever got a shoe deal in the future.

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In response to Carfagna’s question about how his decisions have changed as he nears the end of his playing career, O’Neal discussed his evolving approach to basketball and how it affects his role on the Boston Celtics.

“When I first started playing basketball, I got all the blame when we lost, like a CEO. So I had to put myself in CEO mode and say, ‘If I’m going to get blamed, this is how we have to do things,’” O’Neal said.

“Now I’m in a consultant role. It would not have been advantageous for me to come here and try to take over the team at age 38 when we already have these good players. I already took care of my “me time.” I’ve been healthy and have done a lot. I have my championships. I’m retired as a CEO. Now I'm a consultant – my teammates know that if they need me, I’m right over here.”

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To read the rest, click here. To read Geoff and my previous posts about Shaq being a deputy sheriff, click here.