Shaquille O’Neal is joining the board of Papa John’s, the pizza chain announced today. He is also investing in nine restaurants in the Atlanta area. Thus far, the move has been met with optimism from investors — shares of the company are up over 4% so far today as of 10 am ET; according to CNBC, they’d been down over 17% over the past year.
From the outside, this seems like a win for everyone involved. As was detailed on HBO’s Real Sports last year, Shaq has built a business empire in his post-playing career. He is likable, and Papa John’s has been in need of an image rehab since its founder, John Schnatter, used the n-word in a conference call; he resigned as chairman last year. Last month, he was removed from the company’s board.
One imagines we will look up at our TV at some point — football season perhaps? — and see Shaq pitching the pizza.