(Talladega, AL) NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and award-winning global entrepreneur, CEO and television producer Jeff Hoffman are teaming up to help bring transformative economic development and educational initiatives to Talladega, Alabama.
“Almost everyone has heard of Talladega Superspeedway – NASCAR’s biggest track,” said Talladega City Manager Seddrick Hill Sr., who is Talladega’s first black city manager. “However, many people have limited knowledge about the city of Talladega, its considerable assets and its tremendous potential.”
When Hill was named city manager in 2021, he began discussing Talladega’s potential with O’Neal and several members of O’Neal’s fraternity, Omega Psi Phi. Omega Psi Phi Grand Basileus Dr. David Marion; Omega Psi Phi Sports, Entertainment Committee Chair Dr. Mark E. Stevens; and Lamar Williams took a tour of the city that included stops at Talladega Municipal Golf Course and the East Side Head Start building. Both the golf course and the head start building had been vacant for several years and city leaders were eager to see the abandoned spaces revived. O’Neal, Marion, Stevens, and Williams were excited about taking on a project that would reflect Omega Psi Phi’s core principles, which are “manhood, scholarship, perseverance and uplift.”
The group proposed to establish the Omega Academy of Science and Fine Arts at the head start, which is located in an underserved community. Their suggestions for the 38-acre golf course included creating a program that integrates the game of golf with a curriculum focused on diverse life skills.
In a videotaped message, O’Neal publicly applauded Hill, Talladega Councilwoman Vickey Hall and other city leaders for blight-removal initiatives and other major improvements underway.
“The city is knocking down buildings, renovating parks and trying to build a safer, stronger community. Change is coming to Talladega and I am proud to be a part of it,” said O’Neal, who later encouraged Jeff Hoffman to also consider investing in Talladega.
On May 30, 2023, Hill led Hoffman and his business partner, Rochester Johnson Jr., on an extensive tour of Talladega. After meeting business and industry leaders and getting a closeup look at institutions such as Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind and Talladega College, Hoffman observed that Talladega was brimming with potential. During a Talladega City Council meeting, Hoffman formally expressed his commitment to becoming a part of Talladega’s transformation.
“No one is going to save America’s cities — they have to save themselves. Talladega is a shining example of an entire city coming together to design its future, an inclusive and comprehensive future for all its residents,” Hoffman said. “I am excited about establishing relationships in a city that is so clearly poised for advancement.”
Hoffman is an award-winning global entrepreneur, acclaimed CEO, worldwide motivational speaker, bestselling author, Hollywood film producer, a producer of a Grammy Award winning jazz album, and executive producer of an Emmy Award winning television show. He is an executive producer and stars in the groundbreaking TV series Going Public, a show which allows viewers worldwide to invest in the startups that Hoffman mentors on the air. He has founded multiple startups, served as CEO of both public and private companies, and been a part of several prominent successful startups, including Priceline.com/Booking.com, uBid.com and more.
The City of Talladega is home to the renowned Amistad Murals at Talladega College’s Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art; Talladega Superspeedway; Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB); International Motorsports Hall of Fame; Historic Silk Stocking District; Hall of Heroes Museum; CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park; Heritage Hall Museum; Historic Ritz Theatre; TOP Trails OHV Park; Davey Allison Memorial Park and other unique attractions and shops.
“Talladega is a good place to live, work and invest in. Gaining attention and support from Jeff Hoffman and Shaquille O’Neal will increase our city’s profile exponentially and make it a phenomenal place to live, work and invest in,” said Hill.