Shaq Reveals What He Hopes His Kids Learn from His Successes: 'Anything Is Possible'
PEOPLE also has an exclusive first look at the season finale of Shaquille O'Neal's Facebook Watch series, Big Chicken Shaq
Shaquille O’Neal is a fearless man of many talents — traits he hopes he’s passed on to his five children.
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE ahead of the season finale of his Facebook Watch reality series Big Chicken Shaq, the basketball legend, 46, shares what it’s like to constantly explore new areas professionally and the importance of his family.
Asked what he hopes his kids will learn from his own unique career trajectory, the Kazaam star says that “anything is possible as long you as work hard and really put your mind to it. They know that they can ask me for advice at any time, but I really want them to try and figure it out on their own. That’s when you learn the most.”
O’Neal is father to three girls — Taahirah, 22, Amirah, 17, and Me’arah, 12 — and two boys, fellow pro-basketball player Shareef, 18, and Shaqir, 15.
He also offers advice for fellow entrepreneurs thinking about pursuing a new path. “Every project has its risks,” he explains, “but I try and surround myself with the best people I can find. This gives me the best chance to succeed.”
O’Neal’s latest project, Big Chicken Shaq, exposes his life as a new owner of a chicken restaurant in Las Vegas.
“I really enjoyed it. Not much changed, I just had a few cameras following me around … Big Chicken Shaq was fluid. The schedule was constantly changing,” he says, adding that he’s loved involving his mom in his new business. Lucille O’Neal appeared in the show’s third and fifth episodes, as well as a special “Cooking with Shaq” segment.
“It brings back a lot of good memories from my childhood,” he muses before sharing the best piece of advice his mother has ever given him in the kitchen: “Always read the recipe before you start cooking.”
Overall, the restaurant has been an adventure for the versatile star.
“What surprised me most [about opening the restaurant] is the amount of people that were involved. Hundreds of people, all with a very specific, but crucial role,” he recalls.
The upcoming season finale will feature “some familiar faces,” its leading man says. Overall, the episode focuses on the team putting the final touches on and finally opening the joint. Naturally, it doesn’t go as smoothly as expected.
A clip shows O’Neal reprimanding his staff for taking more than 12 minutes to serve some important food bloggers, insisting, “It’s not a good look — time for me to take matters into my own hands.”
O’Neal is already planning on expanding the business. Last week, he announced he’s creating a location on board Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Radiance, which will set sail from Spain in 2020.
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Despite only going on his first cruise in the past year, O’Neal recently came on board as Carnival’s “Chief Fun Officer” — and it’s a title he takes very seriously. “It’s my responsibility to make sure cruisers have the best time on their vacation, from food to activities,” he told PEOPLE previously. “It’s all about making people happy. I don’t think people really know all the stuff you can do on a cruise.”
The restaurant’s inventive selection of fried chicken sandwiches will be available to passengers for lunch and dinner at no additional cost, and O’Neal says he’ll also be rolling out some new breakfast options.