Shaquille O’Neal’s got the ball in his court, and he plans on helping Papa John’s rebound by opening a number of restaurants on Historically Black College & Universities campuses across the country.
The four-time NBA champion joined the Papa John’s Board of Directors earlier this year and invested in nine Papa John’s restaurants in Atlanta, after the John Schnatter left the company amid controversy.
O’Neal secured $8.5 million in cash and stock options in the deal. The pizza franchise is trying to make a comeback, and O’Neal is leading the effort along with Miles College, in Fairfield, Alabama, with plans to bring Papa John’s to HBCUs.
There are at least 107 HBCUs with more than 228,000 students enrolled too.
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities have paved the way for African Americans and people of other races to deservedly receive a quality education. HBCUs have been pivotal in the development of young minds; influential in highlighting the history and culture of African Americans and effectively provided a means for academic success,” Shaq said in a statement, Yahoo reports.
Shaq plans to announce the Papa John’s HBCU venture Saturday, October 26 at 12:00 PM Central at the Miles College Student Activity Center with Miles College’s President Bobbie Knight.
Shaq explained, “Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘If you want to move people, it has to be toward a vision that’s positive for them, that taps important values, that gets them something they desire and it has to be presented in a compelling way, so that they feel inspired to follow.”
He continued, “Today, I ask you to catch the same vision that the noble founders of HBCUs held in carving out a venue to education, independence, and success. Join me and President Bobbie Knight of the great Miles College, as we move toward a business initiative that will open avenues of opportunities for our HBCUs.”