The Never-Ending Amazement of Shaquille O’Neal’s Size 22 Shoes & the Story Behind It

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal stimulates amazement nearly every time he walks onto the set of TNT. The wonder? His size 22 shoe.

However, during an FN interview last month, Shaq admitted that he is actually a size 20.

“My shoe size is 20 but I like to wear a 22 because when I was young we couldn’t afford proper shoes so I had to wear my shoes tight,” he said. “[Now] I always get my shoes too big to make sure I have room.”

In the history of professional basketball, no player has offered us such a larger-than-life view of feet than Shaq. Now an NBA analyst on TNT, O’Neal continues to amaze with the sheer size of his feet and just how much bigger a size 22 shoe looks than the typical sneaker. With the average NBA basketball player offering a shoe size around 13 or 14, those sizes pale in comparison with the size worn by the iconic center.

The enormity of O’Neal’s feet came onto the sneaker scene when Reebok signed the baller in 1992. Through this partnership, he launched a series of sneakers, including the popular Reebok Shaq Attaq. Reebok created multiple versions and colors of the signature line, even putting the Reebok Pump technology into the Shaq Attaq franchise.

Shaquille O'Neal Miami Heat
Shaquille O’Neal’s size 22 in 2007 while playing for the Miami Heat.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

More recently, the retired baller had success with a budget version of his own sneaker.

Now, he has his eyes set back on Reebok. As Authentic Brands Group’s second-largest shareholder — after he sold the rights to his namesake brand in 2015 to ABG — O’Neal has helped the company target brands with strong turnaround potential, including Reebok. In the case of the athletic brand, the former athlete was adamant that the company make a competitive offer to acquire the footwear label from Adidas, which it did this August in a $2.5 million deal.

These days, Shaq says he prefers to wear slip-on sneakers rather than lace ups.

“I’d rather do that than have to bend down and tie my shoe. My workout consists of just cardio and lifting weights. No more running, no more jumping. I’m more of a slip-on guy,” said.

Watch Shaq talk about his shoes below:

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