Fact Check

Did Shaquille O'Neal Turn Down $100M Commercial with LeBron James?

During his playing days, Shaq had beef with Kobe Bryant, not LeBron.

Published Feb 8, 2024

 (Sam Wasson / Getty Images)
Image Via Sam Wasson / Getty Images
Claim:
Shaquille O'Neal turned down a $100 million commercial because he would have to work with LeBron James.

On Feb. 5, 2024, The Dunning-Kruger Times published an article positing that Shaquille O'Neal had turned down a $100 million advertisement deal because he did not want to work with basketball player LeBron James. The article began:

Shaq Turned Down a $100 Million Commercial with LeBron James: "All He Does is Whine and Cry"

Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most iconic names in sports. He dominated basketball for years, and now he dominates the commercial advertising world as one of its most sought-after spokesmen. But that doesn't mean he takes every job.

"I turned down $100 million to do a 30-second spot with LeBron," the superstar told us, "I don't that kind of drama. All he does is whine and cry."

The post was shared to the America's Last Line of Defense Facebook page, where it gained over 100,000 likes and 10,000 comments, many of which implied that viewers, who may have read the headline but not the article, believed the story was real.

However, the story was not real. The Dunning-Kruger Times is a part of the America's Last Line of Defense network of satire websites and Facebook pages. As such, nothing published on any of the network's sites should be taken at face value, as noted on the site's "About Us" page:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy, and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical.

In fact, Facebook users who decided to read the brief article instead of glancing at the headline likely could have deduced that. The article continued:

ALLOD Sportsball Analysticator Tara Newhole says she can't find any evidence that the story is even remotely true. "I asked Michael Jordan," she said, and he said you d**kbags wrote the same story about him last week."

Indeed, the Dunning-Kruger Times did publish an article making the same claim about Michael Jordan on Feb. 1, 2024. That article was also labeled satire.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

“About Us.” Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/about-us/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ALLODSatire/posts/pfbid0Argy1TkJDUp9u6EoStnTsRLGfBa8vdcrqDiRbJgwzvHrDdcz9qoCgqodkZEMXTvgl. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

---. https://www.facebook.com/ALLODSatire/posts/pfbid035T9RUPk7qt1boUwMRABuwrgWcphEg73Z2DwhsRany2zHNf6KmBLRhNNRp7foB5qtl. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

Patriot, Flagg Eagleton-. “Michael Jordan Refuses $100M for a 30-Second Super Bowl Spot With Lebron James: ‘Not On Your Life.’” Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, 25 Jan. 2024, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/michael-jordan-refuses-100m-for-a-30-second-super-bowl-spot-with-lebron-james-not-on-your-life/.

---. “Shaq Turned Down a $100 Million Commercial with LeBron James: ‘All He Does Is Whine and Cry.’” Dunning-Kruger-Times.Com, 6 Feb. 2024, https://dunning-kruger-times.com/shaq-turned-down-a-100-million-commercial-with-lebron-james-all-he-does-is-whine-and-cry/.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.