In today’s NBA, players’ pregame outfits sometimes make more noise than their on-court performances.
Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal tells PEOPLE he’s not always too keen on the wardrobe choices of some NBA stars —but, sorry folks, he’s not naming names.
Instead, Shaq, 45, offered them some key fashion advice.
“When it comes to fashion, especially dealing with business, dress like you’re meeting the CEO,” Shaq said at the American Express Teamed Up event in New York. “Don’t dress like you’re going to the club.”
However, the basketball legend understands that he’s older than today’s young NBA superstars — and that every generation is different.
“I look and always have to say to myself, ‘What was I doing at their age?’ ” Shaq admits. “I saw an old picture yesterday. I had on a suit, but my jacket was down to my calves,” he adds with a laugh.
It was an image that Shaq’s publicist happily supplied to PEOPLE.
“Look, if I can make someone laugh, then I’m doing my job. The world is a better place with more smiles,” says Shaq, who retired from the NBA after the 2010-11 season and is now a TV personality on TNT’s Inside the NBA. He also plans to run for sheriff in either Florida or Georgia in 2020.
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Shaq’s fashion sense can be traced all the way back to the 1992 NBA Draft, at New York’s Rochester Big and Tall. With only $300 in his pocket, the star unknowingly picked up a $3,200 suit and asked the clerk how much it was.
“My name is Shaquille O’Neal,” he says he explained to the cashier. “I don’t have any money yet, but trust me, after they call my name [at the NBA draft], I’m gonna be rolling in the dough.”
Four NBA Championships later, Shaq still buys his suits at Rochester Big and Tall — and he’s still tight with the clerks.