Shaquille O'Neal

Mounting a comeback? Shaq reveals he’s back to a strict Miami Heat diet

Weight has always been a burning matter for NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, especially during his playing days. When he was with the Los Angeles Lakers, the big man weighed well over 340 pounds (reports say that he was 400 at some point). When he donned the Miami Heat jersey, he slimmed down to 320, which is still a bit too much by NBA standards. Questions were usually hurled at Shaq and his weight during these days. Yet these pressing inquiries were continually panned as Shaq did not just remain relatively injury-free but was also collecting NBA Championship trophies in bunches. 

Now, years into retirement, weight concerns continue to haunt Shaq. This time around, it has become impossible to ignore. Especially in 2020, arguably one of the worst years in modern human history, Shaq had to endure the death of Kobe Bryant and several other close friends and relatives. It further compounded the sorrow from the loss of his sister in October 2019. O’Neal confessed he succumbed to an eating and streaming binge. Sandwiches were his thing — all day, every day, even into the wee hours of the night. However, something hit Shaq. Particularly a 70-year-old guy on Instagram who, according to him, “had muscles everywhere.”

“I just started to eat better and to make better decisions. I was starting to look old and I didn’t want to. So I said to myself, I want to take my shirt off on Instagram one last time. I saw this 70-year-old guy on there, and he had muscles everywhere. So I just decided to switch it up,” O’Neal said, per Men’s Journal.

The thing about Shaq is that he likes to play around. You can believe what he just said, that an older man inspired him to be in shape. But you can also remind yourself that once in his life, he was an elite athlete and considered the most dominant of the sport — a feat he achieved through sheer hard work. Several years removed from the NBA, old habits die hard. 

“I’ve been doing this for six months and just eating fruit, protein shakes, salads, fish, chicken, and asparagus, or other vegetables. Very small portions and eating that every day has helped me lose 25-30 pounds. I started to see stuff that I haven’t seen in 20 to 30 years—like a six-pack. And I haven’t had one of those since I was on the 2006 Miami Heat.”

If Shaq was several years younger, one could say that he is mounting a comeback of sorts. Not necessarily in the NBA but in smaller leagues like BIG3 that ex-NBA players populate. But the man is 49-years-old now. He is superhuman, but it’s hard to defeat Father Time. As such, fans may need to temper their expectations. No, we won’t see Shaq back in basketball action. However, we may see more of him on Instagram — topless and greasing his abs.