The NBA superstar’s athleisure-inspired frames from Zyloware Eyewear deliver the right dose of sporty cool.
Mingling with his new Zyloware family at Vision Expo East, Shaquille O’Neal looks right at home with the eyewear collection that bears his name. As one of the most recognizable basketball players on the planet, Shaq’s post-playing career has been equally impressive-he’s been an Icy Hot spokesperson for more than 10 years, a host of TNT’s Inside the NBA since 2011 and earned his PhD in education in 2012. The 7’1″ gentle giant is smart and genuinely funny. Shaq has appeared in a hilarious video clip as an undercover Lyft driver. He delivered a championship-winning performance of Flashdance’s “Maniac” on Spike TV’s Lip Sync Battle, for which he donned legwarmers and a wig to channel Jennifer Beals. He’s up for anything and that quality makes him so accessible.
Shaquille O’Neal Eyewear launched in April and a kids’ collection is already in the works, according to the company. I had the pleasure of speaking with the NBA Hall of Famer to discuss the merits of partnering with a family-owned business and helping to create an athleisure collection that is just his size.
MICHELE SILVER: What prompted you to launch this eyewear collection with Zyloware?
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL: I’m getting older, my eyes are starting to fadeÂ-and I wanted to do a collaboration. I asked around and everybody said Zyloware. The fact that they’re well respected and they’re a family business-father, son, cousin-that intrigued me. So I think we’ll be a good match for a long time.
I met with Jamie [Shyer, COO] and told him I was into athleisure-I’m the type of guy that [while]I wear suits, I’d rather wear jeans, a jacket, something sporty. We just connected. They said, Shaq, ‘If you want to go athleisure, this [memory metal]is in.’ And the price points are where the Shaq brand stands. I always want something affordable, something fun, and the glasses are rough and rugged.
We don’t want people to think this [collection is]for a big guy, for big people. They’re for everybody. They just look big on me because I have a big head.
SILVER: So is the frame that you’re wearing your favorite one right now?
O’NEAL: I have a lot of favorites. This one [QD108Z] is good. This is the one I’m wearing when I’m out, but when I’m at work, I like to wear the real thin ones.
SILVER: What has been the most important factor for you while working with Zyloware?
O’NEAL: When I heard that Zyloware was the best company to go with, I kind of figured that the process would be easy. How I do business is I never come in and act like I know everything, especially with a company that is well respected. They’re in the eyewear business, and they give suggestions and then I [give my opinion]. It’s an easy marriage and easy partnership. It’s an honor to do business with them.