Professional basketball star Shaquille O’Neal recently joined the RV lifestyle with the purchase of a $161,700, 37-foot Fleetwood Discovery diesel pusher motorhome, according to Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., manufacturer of the unit.
O’Neal, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, bought his coach from Niel’s Motorhomes in North Hills, Calif.
O’Neal appeared at Niel’s lot in June and spent several hours looking over the dealership’s inventory before deciding to buy a 2002 Discovery 37U model, said Tom Lindstrom, the dealership’s vice president.
“Once we got over over the shock and excitement of having Shaq (who stands over seven feet tall) in our lobby, we found him to be a genuinely nice guy,” Lindstrom said. “He kept cracking jokes and even took the time to sign autographs and take pictures with our customers and employees. We hope to keep Shaq as one of our valued customers for a very long time.”
O’Neal’s purchase in June came as Fleetwood enjoyed a 19.7% surge in diesel Class A motorhome retail market share during the first half of this year compared with the same six months of 2001, according to Fleetwood, which cited Statistical Surveys Inc. data to substantiate its claim.
That means Fleetwood was outperforming its competitors because the diesel Class A market, in terms of the number of units retailed, increased 11.1% in the first half of this year when compared with the first six months of 2001, the company added, once again citing data from Statistical Surveys, an independent market research firm.