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“He must have eaten 10 meals, the waitresses went and kept bringing food”: Arnold Swarzenegger on his first meeting with a rookie Shaquille O’Neal in 1993

Arjun Julka
|Mon Mar 28 2022

When Hollywood superstar Arnold Swarzenegger was surprised to see Orlando Magic rookie Shaquille O’Neal’s appetite as the two icons met over lunch in 1993.

There is no doubt that Shaquille O’Neal was a freak of nature, standing above seven feet and weighing over 300 pounds. The former ROTY was brute strength with cat-like reflexes in the paint, having great agility for his size. Shaq was a nightmare for all basketball rims, shattering boards everywhere.

A physical specimen, the Big Diesel had the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen intimidated by his size. Shaq’s aura had its effect on Hollywood legend Arnold Swarzenegger too, who he met for the first time in 1993 over lunch.

Arnold was pleasantly surprised with the amount Shaq ate during their first meeting. A seven-time Mr. Olympian saying this was enough for us to understand Shaq’s eating habits. Nonetheless, playing ball on a nightly basis helped the Diesel burn all the calories.

Also read: “I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was dependent on painkillers not addicted”: Shaquille O’Neal on his wake-up call after a recent health checkup

The Terminator actor was mightily impressed with a young Shaq and predicted that he would go a far way.

Arnold Swarzenegger gives an insight into his first meeting with Shaquille O’Neal.

In 1993, Arnold had visited the Garden to watch a game between the Magic and the Knicks. Seated at the front row, the former California governor caught up with a sideline reporter, who asked him about his first impression of O’Neal.

Arnold had the following to say,

“I think this is a whole new dimension, it seems to me. He came over today to Planet Hollywood, and he ate his lunch there. I’m telling you the waitresses went and kept bringing food, one meal after the other, and he must have eaten like 10 meals which is staggering the way this guy devoured it. He burns it off playing basketball, practicing, and all this, that is why he has such a low percentage of body fat, and he looks straight. He is really well proportioned, and the great thing about it all is that he is a wonderful guy and a very smart guy that has it together. I think he is really going to go far.”

And wasn’t Arnold bang on with his predictions as Shaq would take the league by storm, etching his name into one of the greatest to pick up the basketball. In his 19 seasons in the NBA, Shaq won four championships, three Finals MVPs, two scoring titles, amongst many other accolades.

Also read: “I had a new disorder called the Charles Barkley Over the Belt Syndrome”: Shaquille O’Neal hilariously trolls his TNT co-panelist while talking about his recent weight loss

Nonetheless, Shaq is very particular about his diet now. The 50-year old had recently revealed that he had 4.9 pack abs and followed a strict regime.


About the author
Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

A 26-year-old from Mumbai. A huge Basketball fan who regularly consumes hours of basketball content, be it matches, debates, or analysis. Some of my other interests include CrossFit, watching documentaries, collecting sneakers, and trying out different types of cuisines.

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