The former NBA star, 51, discussed his recent weight loss, and his “crazy goals” for himself, during an interview with Entertainment Tonight, where he revealed that he decided to change his lifestyle after realising he couldn’t “walk up the stairs”.
“I was getting chubby and couldn’t even walk up the stairs. I didn’t like the way I looked in the mirror,” he explained. “I was like, ‘I’m gonna lose 20’ and then I was trying to lose 20.”
According to O’Neal, who weighed 406 pounds at the start of his journey, he began by exercising, with the Los Angeles Lakers legend then changing his eating habits as well. He told the outlet that his goal is now to be “between 315 and 330 [pounds],” which he said is what he weighed when he helped lead the Miami Heat to their first NBA title in franchise history in 2006.
In addition to losing more weight, the basketball star, who is 7ft 1in, also wants to achieve an “eight pack,” although he joked that he’s halfway to his goal. “I’ve got a five-pack now so I’ve got seven more packs to go because I want to take my shirt off on Instagram,” he said.
This is not the first time that O’Neal has opened up about his fitness transformation, as he told the outlet in December that he was inspired to get healthy after a friend called him “fat”.
“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,” he recalled at the time.
According to O’Neal, he also hadn’t known 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 said.