Former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal forked out $25,000 while out on a dinner date with a mystery woman, who he was overheard describing as ‘my date,’ and picking up the tab for every diner who was at an upscale restaurant in New York City.
O’Neal, who reportedly has a net worth of $400 million, was spotted dining with company at the Jue Lan Club in Chelsea on Sunday night, where he ordered Beijing chicken, shrimp tempura and the restaurant’s specialty — chicken satay.
‘She did all the ordering,’ an inside source told Page Six. After enjoying their respective meals, O’Neal and his date left the restaurant a hefty tip that staff described afterwards as ‘the biggest tip they’ve ever received.’
The NBA Hall of Famer also didn’t want to capture any attention at the eatery as he told staff to be discreet and to not let other patrons know that he was going to cover their meal expenses.
‘And to top that off, he paid for everyone’s check [who was] dining at the restaurant,’ which was more than 40 tables.
He also instructed servers and waiters to not let any diners in attendance know that he was dining there, as he wanted to avoid the spotlight.
It remains unclear who the mysterious woman is and how much O’Neal’s dinner with her cost.
Shaquille O’Neal, 50, dined at an upscale Chinese restaurant on Sunday with a mysterious woman and paid off every diners bill, escalating to a total amount of $25,000
The former NBA superstar felt generous at the eatery as he gave staff ‘the biggest tip they’ve ever received,’ according to an inside source
The Laker legend ordered Beijing chicken, shrimp tempura (pictured) and chicken satay at the restaurant
O’Neal told staff to not alert other diners at the restaurant that he was going to pay their bills for them
The former Laker, who is best remembered for his prime years in Los Angeles along with now-deceased teammate and NBA star Kobe Bryant, said on a podcast last year that his six children will have to work hard to benefit from his wealth.
‘My kids are older now. They kinda upset with me – not really upset – but they don’t understand,’ he told the Earn Your Leisure podcast.
‘Because I tell them all the time. We ain’t rich. I’m rich,’ he added.
‘You’ve got to have Bachelor’s or Master’s [degrees] and then if you want me to invest in one of your companies, you’re going to have to present it… bring it to me, I’ll let you know,’ O’Neal further said, sending out a message to his children. ‘I’m not giving you nothing.’
He then stressed about the one unconditional rule that all of his kids have to follow: education.
‘I don’t care if you play basketball. I don’t care about none of that,’ Shaq continued.
‘Listen, I got six kids,’ he further said, referring to sons Shareef and Shaqir, as well as daughters Me’arah, Amirah and Taahirah. ‘I would like a doctor, somebody to own a hedge fund, a pharmacist, a lawyer, someone that owns multiple businesses, someone to take over my business.’
‘But I tell them I’m not going to hand it to you. You gotta earn it,’ he warned them.
O’Neal, who has a net worth of $400 million, previously maintained that his children (pictured) must work hard in order to earn his investment
Not much is revealed about O’Neal’s love life, other than the fact that he was married to TV personality Shaunie Nelson from 2002 until 2011.
The couple had initially separated after five years of marriage in 2007 but reconciled shortly afterwards. However, in 2009, Nelson filed for divorce in a Miami-Dade court, citing ‘irreconcilable differences.’ The divorce was not finalized until two years later.
‘I was bad,’ O’Neal told The Pivot Podcast back in April, and even described his ex-wife as ‘awesome.’ ‘She really was. It was all me,’ he added.
The 50-year-old did not go into detail on ‘what [he] was doing’ wrong but admitted that he ‘wasn’t protecting her and protecting those vows.’
‘Sometimes when you live that double life, you get caught up. I’m not going to say it was her. It was all me,’ he said without any going any further.
O’Neal and ex-wife Shaunie Nelson were married from 2002 to 2011. The former NBA player hinted that he led a ‘double-life’ near the end of his marriage with Nelson
And while Nelson just recently married a pastor in Anguilla this year, O’Neal is still rumored to be playing the field.
In the summer of 2010, O’Neal started dating another TV star — Nicole ‘Hoopz’ Alexander. The pair lived together at O’Neal’s estate in Sudbury, Massachusetts, before splitting up two years later.
O’Neal then started dating Laticia Rolle, a model, in 2014 before things broke off in 2018.
Since 2019, it has been rumored that the man famously nicknamed ‘Big Diesel’ is going out with General Hospital star Annie Ilonzeh.
Three years ago, the couple were spotted with their hands all over each other on a yacht in Formentera, Spain by DailyMail.com.
COSY: O’Neal aboard a yacht in Formentera, Spain in 2019 with General Hospital star Annie Ilonzeh