Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant NBA players and a genuine physical specimen we’ll probably never see ever again. He was just too big and too strong for most NBA players throughout his career with his 7’1″ and well over 300 pounds frame. If you watched Shaq for the majority of his career, you could’ve seen his body transformed throughout the years. When the Orlando Magic drafted him, he was unbelievably slim, and somewhat skinny compared to the later stages of his career. On top of that, he was extremely athletic and mobile, but his skill set was still raw.
Shaq exploded in weight after joining the Los Angeles Lakers, which almost made him unstoppable; if you were like me, you always wondered how much he weighed because he made other centers look like little children at times. However, in a recent episode on the show NBA on TNT, Shaq said how during the Lakers’ last championship during the 01-02 season, he played at 395 lbs.
First championship 345. Second championship 365 and the last championship 395. I was big in my last year.Shaquille O’Neal, via NBA on TNT
Shaq looked unbelievably big compared to pretty much any player in the league back then, especially during his last two seasons with the Lakers. But, surprisingly enough, after he joined Miami Heat in 2004, he got in shape fast because Pat Riley doesn’t tolerate overweight players who are physically not ready to perform at a high level.
I get down to Miami, and Pat was not having that. So the first year there I go down to 315 because my body fat had to be around 12. And when I won with Wade, I was about 325.Shaquille O’Neal, via NBA on TNT
It’s astonishing Shaq played at almost 400 pounds during the 2001/02 season because that is a lot of tool on your body, especially on the knees. On top of that, Shaq was constantly getting hammered in the paint because of the only ways players were able to slow him down. Yet, despite all that, he averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds per game in the regular season while bumping those numbers up in the playoffs when he was literally unstoppable for the opposing big men.
It’s also remarkable his body was able to handle all that weight with all the additional stress of playing the way he played and the opposing players, but that is why he is considered one of the most dominant players of all time.