Asked if the pizza firm could be renamed "Papa Shaq" in his name, he laughed and said there would be a new item on the menu: "Shaqaroni".
The newest one, O'Neal, said he is excited "to be able to help Papa John's raise their game to new heights".
Shaquille O'Neal announced Friday that he will be the company's first African-American board member.
According to the company's most recent proxy filing, Papa John's directors get an annual retainer of $50,000, an equity grant of at least $125,000, restricted stock, stock options and additional compensation depending on their roles.
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Schnatter later accused the company's board of directors of botching its investigation of the incident - and expressed regrets about resigning.
Founder John Schnatter, the company's biggest shareholder whose image had once been deeply ingrained in the pizza chain's marketing, agreed earlier this month to resign from the board and dismiss a lawsuit related to his departure past year as chairman.
In July, Papa John's founder John Schnatter resigned as chairman after a Forbes report that he used the N-word during a conference call.
As a partner, endorser and spokesperson, Papa John's said O'Neal "has significant experience helping to market and grow leading consumer brands across multiple categories".
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O'Neal will join the Louisville-based Papa John's as a member of its Board of Directors and plans on investing in nine of its locations in the Atlanta area.
The NBA Hall of Famer will be a "triple threat", he said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" after the announcement Friday morning.
The problems at Papa John's started in 2017 when Schnatter criticized the NFL's leadership and blamed protests by football players for falling pizza sales. Starboard earlier this year unveiled an investment of up to $250 million in Papa John's.
O'Neal is known for his affable nature and appearing in ads for everything from Comcast and Icy Hot balm to Radio Shack and Burger King during his playing days.
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