Shaquille O’Neal is making his health a priority in 2023. O’Neal spoke with ET’s Nischelle Turner ahead of his virtual reality New Year’s Eve countdown special, “The Shaq-tacular Spectacular”, where he revealed his recent 40-pound weight loss, and his plans to lose 20 more pounds in 2023.
“I lost 40 pounds,” O’Neal shared. “I need to lose about 20 more, but impressive. Imma get real chiseled up and do an underwear ad with my sons.”
O’Neal is giving himself till his 51st birthday on March 6 to reach the goal.
“Shirt off. Chiseled,” he promised.
As for his decision to lose weight, the former basketball star said it all started after getting some revealing blood work back. That prompted him to not only get a checkup but get on a clean diet.
“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,” O’Neal said. “I didn’t know what 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 continued, “Plus the supplements I’m taking, and the shakes I’m drinking, the weight just fell off. I’m not at 100 percent ninja mode yet. I’m still 75 percent.”
Despite a few cheat days, O’Neal has stuck to his diet and exercise routine. As for his advice for people who don’t have access to a chef and trainer like he does, the athlete simply said, start by walking.
“Star off, if you can, by walking 30 minutes a day. A lot of people can’t do that ’cause I know, you got the kids, you gotta get to work. But if you can, start off by walking 30 minutes a day,” he said. “Put your headphones on, put on your favorite song, 30 minutes a day.”
Next, eliminate your vices, which for O’Neal, are bread and soda.
“Then you gotta eliminate something that you love. Eliminate it. I haven’t had soda for a while. I gotta eliminate bread and soda, so, if I could eliminate bread or soda, I think I could get the Marky Wahlberg look. I want to be known as the Black Mark Wahlberg.”
Fans will be able to get a look at O’Neal’s trimmed-down physique in his virtual reality NYE special. The event is set to feature an all-star lineup of musical acts, celebrity guests, and an epic neon light performance complete with a DJ set from Shaq aka DJ Diesel.
The countdown includes performances from Cardi B, Ludacris, Lil Yachty, Killer Mike, WHIPPED CREAM, and DJ DIESEL himself. O’Neal also announced additional special guest appearances by Rob Gronkowski and Camille Kostek, who will join him onstage while surrounded by a roller rink, basketball court, and mainstage that’s filled with a marching band, cheerleaders, pro roller skaters, basketball players, and fans inside the party.
O’Neal shared more about the special in his conversation with ET, which was inspired by his first pair of VR goggles.
“Those VR goggles that you buy at Best Buy — I put them things on one day at 12 o’clock, and when I took them off, it was 3 in the morning,” O’Neal recalled. “I was playing shooting games and all these games. I had one with a roller coaster. I’m in my room, and I’m like a little kid, ’cause you know my big a** can’t fit on a roller coaster, so I rode that roller coaster about 100 times.”
The party isn’t just for those watching stateside. Because of the special’s virtual nature, fans from as far as Abu Dhabi can join in on the festivities.
“Don’t worry if you’re not able to watch it when the party starts, as the show will be on loop, throughout the evening, where you can join at any time,” he noted.
O’Neal’s Immersive VR New Year’s Eve countdown special, “The Shaq-tacular Spectacular”, will be available across Meta Quest, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger’s “Watch Together” starting Dec. 31 at 3:30 p.m. PT.