<
>

Shaquille O'Neal teams up with Krispy Kreme

Basketball Hall of Famer and broadcaster Shaquille O'Neal was named a global spokesperson for Krispy Kreme on Monday, a delegation that includes ownership in the company's iconic store in downtown Atlanta that opened in 1965.

O'Neal has been a proponent of the doughnut company for years. He made a music video in 2009 in which he tempted himself with a box of doughnuts while trying to stick to his "ShaqLyte" diet.

"Our goal is to help people find their happy place, and what better way than with a box of delicious doughnuts," O'Neal said in a statement.

Back in May, Krispy Kreme was purchased by JAB Beech for $1.35 billion. The firm also owns coffee interests, including the Keurig, Peet's and Caribou brands.

Having a piece of Krispy Kreme will allow O'Neal to right what he considers to be his worst business mistake. In the early 1990s, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz offered O'Neal the rights to be the only franchisee in the entire company.

"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 told reporter Graham Bensinger last year. "And you should have seen the look on his face."

A similar deal instead went to Magic Johnson, who sold his 105 franchises back to the company in 2010 in a deal reportedly worth more than $70 million.

This isn't O'Neal's first go-round in the franchise food business. He was part of a group that owned the Los Angeles rights to Five Guys, building about 25 restaurants before selling back. He also has owned Auntie Anne's pretzel shops.

Last year, O'Neal sold the majority rights to his future business endeavors to Authentic Brands Group.