Shaquille O’Neal is determined to get his body back to championship-caliber level. And when he gets there, the Hall of Famer will party like it’s 2006.
Speaking to ET’s Nichelle Turner, the Los Angeles Lakers legend shares he’s lost a whopping 55 pounds. When the 51-year-old stepped on the scale the other day, he said he came in at 351 pounds. The four-time NBA champion has accomplished quite the feat, but the job’s not done.
Before sharing where he wants to get, Shaq first travels down memory lane. He says he weighed 345 pounds when he won his first NBA championship with the Lakers in 2000. He came in at 375 pounds the following year when the Lakers captured their second consecutive NBA title, and he was 395 pounds when he and the late Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to their third straight NBA title in 2002. After he was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, Shaq got himself back into the best shape of his life, weighing in at a solid 315 pounds when he led the Heat to their first NBA title in franchise history in 2006.
So, the goal now?
“I’m probably gonna get between 315 and 330,” Shaq says.
He admits he sets “crazy goals” for himself, spurred at first by him getting “Charles Barkley, a.k.a. fat,” a playful jab, no doubt, at his NBA on TNT colleague and good friend. All kidding aside, Shaq shared the struggles that led him to walk a healthier path.
“I was getting chubby and couldn’t even walk up the stairs. I didn’t like the way I looked in the mirror,” he admits. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna lose 20’ and then I was trying to lose 20.”
From there, Shaq kept pushing the goal, all the while drastically changing his eating habits. He jokes that he currently owns a “a little 4.9 pack” but the goal is to get “an eight pack.”
Back in December, Shaq Diesel opened up to ET about making his health a priority. He shared that he’d lost 40 pounds at that point, with plans to lose more after getting some revealing blood work back, which prompted him to not only get a checkup but get on a clean diet.
“I got a couple people involved — it’s all about eating right. I got some blood work done, a friend of mine called me and said, ‘You’re fat,’ and she gave me this guy’s name, and he did some blood work, and you know, ’cause I was the athlete — I wasn’t a salad eater. I won’t pay attention to any of that. I don’t care about none of that,” Shaq said at the time. “I didn’t know what the difference between a carb and a protein, at 50 years old I never knew. So, he was saying you can’t do this, you can’t do that, more vegetables, my iron’s low. And once I just started changing those certain things, it dropped.”
He continued, “Plus the supplements I’m taking, and the shakes I’m drinking, the weight just fell off. I’m not at 100 percent ninja mode yet. I’m still 75 percent.”
In between keeping up with his diet and hitting the gym, Shaq’s also been busy preparing for his third annual fundraiser with the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club. “The Event” — presented by Pepsi Stronger Together — is a star-studded gala slated for Oct. 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with proceeds benefiting kids in need.
Helping kids and families in need is kinda Shaq’s thing. He put his Shaq-a-Claus spirit on display this summer when he walked into a Home Depot and bought a family a washer and dryer. He’s also been spotted buying bikes and laptops for kids at Walmart and the Apple Store.
His kindness stretches all the way back to his rookie season with the Orlando Magic, when he donated $1 million to the Orlando chapter of the Boys and Girls Club in 1992. And Shaq doesn’t just lend his name to the Boys and Girls Club. He’s actively involved with the program and recruits big stars for his worthy cause.
Justin Bieber, H.E.R. and Imagine Dragons are past “The Event” performers. This year’s gala is as star-studded as ever, with John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, DJ Pee .Wee (aka Anderson .Paak), Dan + Shay, Ray Romano and Joel McHale all expected to be part of the festivities.