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Shaquille O'Neal Gets Equity, Endorser Roles In Blue04 Enhanced Water Deal

By Barry Janoff

February 5, 2013: Even though he is two years into his post-NBA career, Shaquille O'Neal has not watered down his presence on TV and as a product endorse.

O'Neal, a 15-time All-Star with four NBA titles, has signed a deal with Blue04 that gives him equity in and makes him a product endorser for the "natural oxygenated-enhanced water beverage."

Financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed.

According to the Clermont, Fla.-based company, having O'Neal as part of the roster would "bring worldwide exposure to the brand while promoting the basic yet uniquely powerful benefits Blue04 provides: oxygen and minerals."

The company did not detail how O'Neal would be used in marketing and experiental activation.

Blue04 said that its ownership/endorser roster also includes seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady and WWE star David Otunga.

Last year, Blue04 was a sponsor of the Kentucky Derby.

The company said it recently signed distribution contracts in California and hotel chains in Florida in an attempt to compete with the top functional water brands. The category also includes OXYwater and Clearly Canadian O2.

"Everyone knows Shaquille's abilities, records and stats as one of the NBA's all-time greats," Dr. Dave Hardat, the founder and CEO for Blue04, said in a statement. "However, Shaquille's brand influence, business acumen, knowledge and sheer competitive nature has propelled his business career after the NBA to a level achieved by few."

According to Dr. Hardat, O'Neal will be "very hands-on and involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. We are thrilled to have him not only as a brand endorser, but also a partner and co-owner."

O'Neal, who works as an analyst for NBA on TNT's Inside the NBA, will be one of two celebrity coaches, along with Charles Barkley, in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, which will take place during the NBA's All-Star Game weekend next week.

Also beginning later this month he will host a reality comedy series,on truTV, Upload with Shaquille O'Neal.

"I am proud to be part of a beverage brand that combines the natural benefits of water, oxygen and minerals, while offering enhancements from scientific research to stay hydrated for overall well being," O'Neal said in a statement.

O'Neal's four NBA championships included three with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000-02), where he was named NBA Finals MVP for all three championships, and one with the Miami Heat (2006). He began his 19-year pro career with the Orlando Magic and also played for the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics before retiring in 2011.

Shaq Takes Center Stage in truTV Reality Comedy

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