When Shaquille O’Neal discovered Toms shoes, he immediately wanted a pair. He liked the styling and the company’s one-for-one philanthropic mission. But there was one big problem: Shaq, of course, famously wears size 22.
Not surprisingly, Toms (and most other brands) don’t make shoes that big. Shaq said Toms founder Blake Mycoskie told him a few years ago that he was a big fan but that the company couldn’t change their mold. But Shaq was persistent and said he would buy 2,000 pairs to make it worth it for the brand.
“There’s only three shoes I wear — Reebok, my affordable shoe line and Toms,” Shaq said at the Reebok x Victoria Beckham event on Thursday night in Los Angeles. “I added on Toms because I like the concept.”
Of course, Shaq is fiercely loyal to Reebok, which immediately gave him a signature shoe when he began his professional career in 1992. The baller recalled visiting Nike chief Phil Knight wearing head-to-toe Reebok. It didn’t go over well.
Last year, Reebok reimagined Shaq’s retro high-tops as the Shaq Attaq Modern, an update that includes a fused construction and woven mesh materials.
Meanwhile, the baller said his affordable shoe line — which has sold millions of pairs — continues to be important for him. He had a little advice for Lonzo Ball, who is trying to get into the sneaker game: “Don’t make the shoes so expensive.”
For his part, Shaq is embarking on another big project — building a high-rise apartment complex in his beloved hometown of Newark, N.J.
Click through to view all the celebrities at the Victoria Beckham x Reebok event.