Dunking doughnuts just got Diesel-powered.
Already the pitchman for brands such as Icy Hot, Gold Bond and The General car insurance — to name a few — Shaquille O'Neal has just added doughnuts to his ever-expanding business portfolio.
On Monday, the NBA Hall of Famer and four-time champion announced that he is a new owner of a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts shop.
But this just isn't any location of the popular franchise.
That's because The Diesel now owns the historic Ponce de Leon location in Atlanta that has been part of the community for upwards of 60 years.
That and this isn't any ordinary investment for O'Neal. The legendary center has long been public about his obsession with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts over the years. In fact, a hilarious video of him having some alone time with a dozen of the doughnuts — set to Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" — went viral back in 2009.
Shaq's NBA on TNT co-analyst and fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is quite the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts connoisseur, too, as he once waxed poetically about. We're sure boxes of the sweet treats will be on set of the show this season.
By the sound of things, Shaq is more excited about Krispy Kreme than ever.
“Krispy Kreme prides itself on spreading joy and supporting local communities, and that’s a cause that I am thrilled to be a part of,” O'Neal said, as reported by local Atlanta station WSB-TV. “Our goal is to help people find their happy place, and what better way than with a box of delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts.”
As part of his ownership investment, Shaq also becomes the global spokesperson for the company.
"In addition to Shaquille's status as a sports and entertainment icon and businessman, he is known for spreading joy, which aligns with our positioning and mission," Tony Thompson, president and CEO of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, said, as reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "We are confident this partnership will have a big impact for us in Atlanta and around the world."
On Monday, Shaq sent some of his friends a box of Krispy Kremes, including The Breakfast Club's Charlamagne Tha God.
This isn't Shaq's first stab at the franchise food business. ESPN.com reported that he was part of an investment group, which owned Los Angeles rights to Five Guys. He has also owned Auntie Anne's pretzel franchises.
But being involved with Krispy Kreme gives O'Neal the opportunity to redeem himself following the dreadful mistake of not taking up Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on exclusive rights to become the company's only franchisee back in the early 1990s.
"So I looked at the great Howard Schultz's face and said, 'Black people don't drink coffee, sir, I don't think it's gonna work,'" O'Neal said to reporter Graham Bensinger last year, as reported by ESPN. "And you should have seen the look on his face."
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(Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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