“I’m Not at 100% Ninja Mode”: After Facing Brink of a Health Collapse, Shaquille O’Neal Adds Two Massive Goals to Weight Loss Journey

Published 09/01/2023, 9:12 AM EDT

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Shaquille O’Neal has always been a large human. Right from his high school days to his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, he used to tower over the rest of the opponents. Following his retirement, Shaq became an NBA analyst and announcer. Shaq gained weight after retirement, and one day he realized that he couldn’t walk up the stairs without getting tired. After a small tease from Charles Barkley about being fat on Inside The NBA, he decided to lose weight. 

Following his health scare in 2022, Shaq has completely turned his life around and, with it, his shape. He started small and set a goal of 20 pounds but now in 2023, the transformation is insane.

Shaquille O’Neal adds more to his transformation goals


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Big Diesel has been on his weight loss journey since 2022. Shaq recently updated ET that he is down 50 pounds in total and currently weighs 351 lbs. But he is not done. He is still working towards getting the chiseled physique that he has in his mind.

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Now that Shaquille O’Neal has reached 351 lbs, he has set two new goals for himself.  He wants to get down to 315–330 pounds, which is what he used to play at after leaving the Lakers in 2004.


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His other goal was to get an eight-pack. He said that he has almost a 5-pack, but he wants to build on it.

He also shared that he is only at 75% and said “I’m Not At 100% Ninja Mode”. 

Shaq could have reached his goals sooner, but his progress took a slight halt because of his hip replacement surgery. But Diesel is currently back on track and has been on the grind.

O’Neal learned from his mistakes


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Shaq was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2022. Apparently, doctors told the four-time champion that if he doesn’t take care of himself he will not be around for long. This made him change his approach towards life. Shaq prioritized healthy eating as a major factor in his weight loss.

Despite owning a famous fast food chain, O’Neal has learned to count his calories recently.

He pointed out that when he was an athlete in the league and up until he was 50, he did not know the difference between carbs and proteins. But once he started taking care of his diet, he transformed into a new man.


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He is motivated and is also setting an example to everyone that even at the age of 51, you can reach any goal if you successfully set your mind to it.

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Written by:

Rijin Varghese


One take at a time

Rijin is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for over a decade. He likes to learn about the nuances of sports, understand every player's contribution to a team, and also learn the logic behind player signings and team building.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair