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Shaquille O'Neal: I Thought Coffee Was A 'White Person’s Drink'

 Pop Culture Editor, The Huffington Post


"No amount of money can make me endorse something that I’m not 100 percent behind."

 Shaquille O'Neal has had his fair share of slam dunks when it comes to business deals. But not always.

During the upcoming season premiere episode of “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,” O’Neil expressed his regret over passing on a proposed business partnership with Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz.

“So [Starbucks CEO] Howard [Schultz] comes and says, ‘Shaq, I wanna give you the opportunity to go in with me and open up these Starbucks franchises in African American communities.’ And I’m always the guy that if I don’t believe in it, can’t do it,” he explained during the interview. “No amount of money can make me endorse something that I’m not 100 percent behind.”

The 4-time NBA champion calls forgoing the deal one of his “worst” business decisions to date.  

“So I looked in the great Howard Schultz’s face and said, ‘Black people don’t drink coffee, sir. I don’t think it’s gonna work,’" he recalled. "You should have seen his face. He was like… alright. We’re still good friends today but that was one of my worst business decisions.”

The 43-year-old’s story may not come as a surprise for some. He also detailed the defunct deal in his 2011 autobiography, “Shaq Uncut: My Story,” where he wrote: “The truth was, I’d never seen black people drink coffee. I thought it was a white person’s drink.”

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