Shaq Shares The Moment He Knew He Needed To Lose Weight, And (Of Course) Charles Barkley Was Involved

screenshot ofShaquille O'Neal on Shaq Life
(Image credit: TNT)

It goes without saying that in his prime, Shaquille O’Neal was the most dominant big man in the NBA. Not only did he have incredible skills on the court, but he also built a considerable amount of muscle over the course of his career. However, the body changes over time and, eventually, O’Neal began to recognize that he was gaining weight. The all-star recently reflected on knowing when he needed to lose some pounds and, to no one’s surprise, fellow basketball vet Charles Barkley was involved.

Shaq retired from professional basketball in 2011 after having played 19 seasons in the NBA. Shortly after hanging it up, the fan-favorite athlete joined TNT’s Inside the NBA alongside the likes of Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley (who may be planning to retire soon). While The Diesel seems like he’s had fun amid his stint on the sports show, it was during this time that he made the realization that he needed to lose weight. And as the hall of famer recently joked, he apparently felt extra motivated to do so after seeing Barkley’s physique:

I like to create crazy motivations. ‘Cause I was looking at myself, and I had that Charles Barkley retirement body. And I didn’t want my stomach to be over the belt anymore. So, I’m just like, ‘Let me go ahead and get slim.’

Those who regularly watch Inside the NBA surely know that the two former players love to poke fun at each other. So Shaq’s not-so-subtle jab at “The Round Mound of Rebound” isn’t all that surprising. That humorous jab aside though, good on the four-time NBA champion for realizing that he needed to make a change and proceeding to put in the work. During his interview with Logan Paul and co. on IMPAULSIVE, the former Los Angeles Laker revealed just how much weight he’s lost and why he’s aiming to drop a few more pounds:

Now, I have to live up to it. I was 401 pounds. Now, I’m 365; I’m trying to take it back to 345. I wanna have muscles everywhere, and I want to do an underwear ad with my sons.

So it sounds like Shaq wants to join the ranks of athletes like David Beckham, who’ve headlined underwear ads. It’s a lofty goal, but one that the big man can surely reach if he keeps making such progress. Though even if he does manage to land the ad, I can still see Charles Barkley finding a way to throw a bit of shade his way. 

Aside from his fitness goals and media endeavors though, Shaquille O’Neal has also spent his retirement performing random acts of kindness here and there. Earlier this year, while on a date, he ended up paying the bill for the entire restaurant. He also donated money towards the families affected by the tragic mass shooting in Buffalo, New York earlier this year. Shaq also shared a life lesson with a six-year-old before buying him a pair of shoes. 

It’s been lovely to see Shaq act with such kindness over the years and, with that, what we can do in return is root him on as he continues his fitness journey. Here’s hoping that he lands that underwear ad he desires – and that the always-hysterical Charles Barkley doesn’t jab him too hard should it come to pass.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.