“Do You Want to Die”: Shaquille O’Neal Reveals How Scary Advice From a Doctor Changed His Life

Published 12/17/2021, 11:30 AM EST
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 14: Professional basketball player and NBA sports analyst, Shaquille O’Neal ESPN Gala: ’30 For 30: This Magic Moment’ Screening during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)


The prospect of facing Shaquille O’Neal at his prime terrified many NBA players. A man of unusually tall stature, O’Neal stands at 7 foot 1 inch. However, O’Neal recently disclosed some advice from his doctor that made a massive impact on his life.

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‘Men’s Health’ recently interviewed Shaquille O’Neal, where he revealed a few details about a doctor’s medical advice to him. O’Neal divulged that he suffered from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted repeatedly during sleep. He explained how the doctor scared him by referencing death in his advice to change his routine.

O’Neal said, “So I did something that I never did before. I went to a doctor. And the doctor used that three letter word that you never wanna hear. He said, ‘Do you wanna die?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t wanna die.’ He said, “You gotta change some things up.”

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He added saying, “So you know I have sleep apnea. It causes a whole bunch of other problems. Sometimes I sleep with a CPAP machine. But you know you just wanna, I wanna be around for a while. So I eat a lot better than I was.

O’Neal has previously spoken about suffering from sleep apnea in other interviews. He has earlier stated his extreme snoring problem and spoke to doctors about his disorder.

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Shaquille O’Neal and his surprising revelations about his diet

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In the interview, O’Neal also mentions the impact of his diet on his career. He described his lax attitude to diet during his younger career days, saying, “I just used to eat whatever. And then just no stretching or working out, just go dominate the game.” However, he admits the change in his diet as he has grown older, saying, “things change and you can’t do it anymore.”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JUNE 12: Kobe Bryant, Lindsey Hunter and Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate following Game Four of the NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets on June 12, 2002 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

O’Neal said his diet during his playing career before games included two club sandwiches, fries, and a pineapple soda. However, this lackadaisical attitude towards his diet has changed.

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What do you think about this anecdote shared by Shaquille O’Neal?

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Shalom Saldanha

255 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the 'Greek Freak'.

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