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Shaquille O’Neal, or Shaq, is BIG in many ways.
Of course, people know him as one of the greatest basketball players and centers of National Basketball Association (NBA) history, who played for 6 teams over his 19-year career and is a four-time NBA champion.
People also wonder about how big he really is, literally.
How Big Are Shaq’s Shoes and Feet?
Standing at 7 feet and 1 inch (2.16m) and weighing 325 pounds (147 kg), Shaq is listed as the number one NBA player with the biggest shoe size at 22, along with 1970 top draft pick Bob Lanier. The average NBA player’s shoe size is only 14.81. Even for athletes who stand near or above 7 feet tall, their usual shoe sizes are 18, 19, and 20.
However, during a Footwear News (FN) interview in November 2021, he revealed that his real shoe size is 20 but he likes to wear a 22 or 23 because when he was much younger, he couldn’t afford properly sized shoes and he always had to wear his shoes tight. So, since he could now afford to, he always wears his shoes bigger to make sure his feet have lots of room.
His huge feet were highlighted when he signed a deal with shoe manufacturer Reebok in 1992. Through their partnership, he launched a series of sneakers, including the signature line, Reebok Shaq Attaq. Reebok created many versions and colors of this line and even put the Reebok Pump technology into the Shaq Attaq franchise.
His huge feet also elicited a lot of howls and guffaws from the audience when Andy Cohen interviewed him on the latter’s show in 2014, and Cohen bluntly asked him, “Shaq, your shoe size is 23, how big is your d*ck?”
Shaq just smiled looking amused and a bit embarrassed, removed his right shoe, and said, “let me show you”, as he placed his shoe along his thigh, to which the audience went wild.
What Brand Shoes Does Shaq Own?
In the same FN interview, Shaq says he has “a couple of Reeboks, a couple of Shaq shoes” but he’s more of a slip-on guy now.
Shaq says he prefers to wear slip-on sneakers instead of lace-ups. “I’d rather do that than bend and tie my shoe. My workout consists of just cardio and lifting weights. No more running, no more jumping. I’m more of a slip-on guy.”
What Kind Of Shoes Did Shaq Play In?
Because of Shaq’s huge frame, his shoes, along with his clothes, had to be custom-made.
Throughout his 19-year basketball career, these were the shoes Shaq played in, in chronological order, starting with his early years with the Tigers down to his last years with the Boston Celtics before he retired in 2011:
- LA Gear KAJ (Kareem Abdul Jabbar)
- LA Gear Catapult Mailman
- Nike Air Force VI
- Reebok Shaq Attaq
- Reebok Shaq Attaq II
- Reebok Shaq Attaq III
- Reebok Shaq Attaq IV
- Reebok Shaqnosis
- Reebok Preacher
- Reebok Shaq Dunk Mob
- Reebok Shaq Reflection
- Reebok Shaq Steel
- Shaq and Dunkman brands (Shaq’s own low-cost brands)
As the story goes, one day, Shaq was wrapping up practice when he was still with the Orlando Magic. A tearful mother suddenly came at him and shouted, “Why don’t one of you sons of bitches make an affordable sneaker?”
Shaq said, “I don’t set the prices. That’s Reebok’s job.” He offered her $200 as a form of apology but the woman rejected it shouting, “I don’t want your money!”
Shaq walked away but the incident stuck in his mind so, he soon decided he was going to release two of his own low-cost sneaker brands: Shaq and Dunkman.
Shaq signed an agreement with ACI International to manufacture them. Warner Brother Sports financed the investment while Shaq was in charge of the design, promotion, and retail appearances. Shaq wore the Dunkman on the court during his stint with the Lakers.
Soon after, in 1998, Shaq and Reebok parted ways. Shaq left his $40 million deal with Reebok to partner with Walmart and sell more affordable shoes.
Reebok is bringing back the classic Shaq Attaq “OG” on September 23, 2022, though, on the OG’s 30th anniversary. The “OG” comes in the classic Orlando Magic color with the combined Pump-lace closure, anodized synthetic collar, and midsole-integrated crosscheck and side stripe, with carbon fiber footplates and Shaq “Dunkman” branding.
Not many people know it, but Shaq is also passionate about social justice and building community. He’s particularly partial to helping disadvantaged kids, like his coming up with the Shaq and Dunkman brands specifically to address the tearful mother’s problem with her son’s expensive sneakers.
But Shaq likes keeping it low-key and doing it when no one’s looking.
He once quietly paid for a random guy’s engagement ring while standing in line at shopping mall Zales.
He also took the Collins family of 10 kids and their parents out to dinner and bought them a Mercedes Benz van as the family had outgrown their older van.
He has also been involved in various charity events. He helped supply and distribute necessities to Hurricane Katrina survivors in New Orleans.
He has also put up The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation in 2019 to provide resources and opportunities for underserved youth. Teaming with Boys & Girls Clubs and Communities in Schools, the foundation focuses on serving these youth in Atlanta and Las Vegas.
The Foundation’s annual programs include Shaq-to-School, which provides basic school supplies for kids with socioeconomic challenges, and Shaq-a-Claus, which provides tens of thousands of toys, clothing, meals, and more to underprivileged youth. The programs have not only served youth in Atlanta and Las Vegas but also in Boston, Florida, Georgia, Los Angeles, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, and Florida.
In 2020, the Foundation partnered with Icy Hot to commit $320,000 in grants to Title 1 high schools whose sports programs were affected by CoViD-19. The Foundation also collaborated with American Express to provide $10 million in grants to Black-owned businesses impacted by the pandemic.
When asked why he does this, Shaq replied, “I’m doing this because this is what I was taught to do by Dr. Lucille Amir, who happens to be my mother.”