Shaquille O’Neal is one of the greatest NBA players of all time.
Over the course of 20 years in the league and stints with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, O’Neal recorded just about every accomplishment there is in the sport.
When it was all said and done, O’Neal went down in history as a four-time champ, three-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time league MVP and 15-time NBA All-Star.
In basketball terms, O’Neal is immortal. In actual life? Not so much.
This week, in a conversation with Joe Holder of GQ Magazine, O’Neal got brutally honest about some recent health woes.
“So when I went back to the doctor there was some stuff I never even knew,” O’Neal said. “They give you those certain words: ‘Hey man, you got sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause hypertension or strokes, you could die.’ I said, ‘What?’ ‘You could die.’ So now I’ve got to sleep with a sleep machine.”
Sleep apnea is something that doesn’t get enough attention in the media as a very real and serious condition. In the worst of circumstances, it could prove to be fatal.
O’Neal’s doctor also warned him about the toll all the painkillers he had taken over the years were taking on his body.
“Then, ‘All those painkillers you were taking, bro? Your kidneys are kind of weak. No more painkillers,’” the Lakers legend added. “I was dependent upon painkillers—not addicted. Certain days when I couldn’t move, I just popped one or two, just to get me going. But I’m off that now.”
In the end, O’Neal felt like he finally got a reality check when it comes to his health.
“I had to really get checked out,” he continued. “When they hit you with that three letter word that starts with D and ends with E, it changes stuff up.”
O’Neal is a modern day hoops legend, and one of the most familiar faces for fans of the sport.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/ZjeJxl8eCR
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 26, 2022
And talking about his own health was no exception.
Hopefully O’Neal’s health is now under control and in a good place, so he can continue to be a prominent figure in the basketball community for many years to come.