Being trim and fit is an indispensable attribute for basketball players, but some personalities have gone on to distinguish themselves despite not meeting this requirement. The most famous example of them all is Shaquille O’Neal. Also known as the Big Aristotle, Shaq is one of the heaviest players to grace the NBA, but this did not impede him from becoming one of the greatest. In a flourishing career spanning nearly two decades, Shaq effectively deployed his size as a weapon for outracing opponents in a manner that defied scientific explanation.
He won a total of four NBA championships. He also collected numerous other accolades, including NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP (3x), NBA All-Star (15x), NBA Rookie of the Year, and an Olympic Gold Medal. Despite all these magnificent achievements, some believe that Shaq could have done even much more if he had cut down his weight. The man himself refuses to subscribe to that idea and believes that his massive bulk made him unstoppable.
What is Shaq’s Weight?
Shaquille O’Neal presently weighs 375 lbs or 170 kg. Such a massive size will make many jump to the conclusion that the NBA legend perhaps pilled on the pounds since retiring in 2011 but this is not true. The average NBA player may weigh an ordinary 216lbs or 98 kg but Shaq never came close to that region even during his active days in the league. Upon being drafted into the league in 1992, the New Jersey native towered over his peers and many speculated that this would affect his ability to perform. Medical and scientific facts also supported this train of thought but what many didn’t know was that despite being bulky, Shaq was uncharacteristically nimble with great speed and strength.
His bulk also made him fearless on the courts and so he went on to return a stellar rookie season that saw him notch not only the NBA rookie of the year award but also receive an All-Star nod. Shaquille O’Neal will continue in that same manner for the remaining four years that he spent with Orlando Magic, helping them to reach the finals on one occasion. They, however, failed to pick up any trophies and so Shaq hightailed it out of there as he very much wanted a crown for his efforts.
On leaving Orlando Magic in 1996, Shaquille O’Neal joined the L.A. Lakers where he linked up with the mercurial Kobe Bryant. The duo formed a formidable partnership and by the year 2000, they led the Lakers to a prestigious NBA championship.
Shaq’s Weight was a Major Point of Contention with Teammate Kobe Bryant
Following his winning of a championship, Shaquille O’Neal spent an additional four years with the Lakers, a time during which they won two more Championships. The fans and city were all happy alike but the team’s two major stars, who were the architects of these successes, were involved in a major feud. One of the combustible points between them was no other fact than Shaq’s weight. By that time, the player had grown so massive that his team took to hiding his real weight. For instance, between 2000 and 2004, the Lakers listed Shaq’s weight as 315 lbs but the truth was that he weighed much more than that – 345 lbs in 2000, 365lbs in 2001, and 395 lbs in 2002.
Shaq’s coach was always on him to try to cut down his weight while his teammate, Kobe Bryant, urged him to emulate his work ethic and spend more time in the gym. The New Jersey native eventually went down to 345lbs but was unwilling to go much lower as he had conditioned himself mentally and physically to operate at a large size. In fact, the player was once quoted as saying that being light made him nice on the courts while the opposite brought out the beast in him.
Shaquille O’Neal would eventually leave the Lakers for the Miami Heat in 2004. He spent four years with the team, a time during which he once more proved that his big size was indeed an asset. He helped the Heat emerge champions in 2006. The New Jersey native also collected a host of accolades but he was never able to shake that perception that he had a weight problem. In a 2019 speech at the PHP agency convention, his long-term pal/rival Kobe Bryant stated that he believed that he and Shaq could have won 12 NBA championships if not for the latter’s weight. Shaq himself remains unconcerned with such statements and is focused on a healthy lifestyle.
Is Shaquille O’Neal the Biggest Player to Ever Play in the NBA?
The answer to the above puzzle is in the negative. Shaquille O’Neal may have weighed as much as two baby elephants during his time with the Lakers but that was never listed as his official weight. Rather than 395lbs, he was listed at 315lbs meaning that he does not hold the bragging rights to being the heaviest person to play in the NBA. That particular honor belongs to journeyman center, Oliver Miller, whose weight is officially listed at 375 lbs or 170 kg.
Other persons who join O’Neal and Miller on the list of the top ten heaviest players to play in the NBA include:
- Mengke Bateer (141kg it 310 lbs)
- Yao Ming (141kg or 310 lbs)
- Robert Taylor (145kg or 319 lbs)
- Kevin Duckworth (145kg or 319 lbs)
- Michael Sweetney (158kg or 348 lbs)
- Eddy Curry (159kg or 350lbs)
In stark comparison to all these heavyweights, Shaq’s famous teammate and pal, Kobe Bryant, weighed more than 100lbs less than Shaq with his official weight listed at 96kg or 212lbs.
What is Shaquille O’Neal’s Shoe Size?
Shaq’s massive weight means that he requires extra-large clothing (size 52 shirt and size 48 shorts) as well as extra-large shoes. The NBA legend wears size 23 shoes and while finding such a size may ordinarily prove to be a challenge for most folks, he has no such problems as there are many brands out there who are willing to make whatever he wants in a customized size for him. The player has however not forgotten how tough it was buying shoes when he was young and so, on occasion, he has been known to help out young people who have similar problems.
Back in 2019, a single mother took to Instagram to share that she found it hard buying shoes for her teenage boy who wore size 18 shoes. Shaq was touched by her plight and immediately set about purchasing 10 different pairs of shoes in the right size for the young lad. The NBA legend was motivated to help as this resonated with his past experiences.
Meanwhile, Shaq’s shoe size makes him the person with the biggest feat in the history of the NBA. Others that come close to him include:
- Andre Iguodala (size 17)
- Dwight Howard (size 18)
- DeAndre Jordan (size 18)
- Kevin Durant (size 18)
- Robin Lopez (size 20)
- Brook Lopez (size 20)