“That was the last time I had a pair of Jordans”: Shaquile O’Neal wore size 13 Air Jordan 1 shoes instead of his size 15, resulting in corns for the rest of his life

Amulya Shekhar
|Published 29/11/2021

Shaquille O’Neal suffered some permanent damage to his feet because he wore Air Jordan 1 sneakers 2 sizes too small for himself.

The popularity of the Air Jordan 1 shoes can be spoken about in raw numbers. Michael Jordan was paid a lump sum of $4 million and a royalty – first of its kind – for every shoe sold, making it by far the biggest shoe deal of its time.

Nike sold over $100 million worth of Airs in the first year itself. That, by itself, justified their decision to invest in the Bulls superstar from the get-go. Sonny Vaccaro is the man credited with getting the Jordan family on board.

Priced at $65, it was a shoe that every kid wanted to buy. The Air Jordan 1, especially the Breds, have people forking out thousands of dollars for retros even today. It was a shoe worthy of the hype it produced in streetwear – a landmark.

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Shaquille O’Neal reveals why he doesn’t wear Air Jordan shoes anymore

The Big Aristotle was invited by Complex.com for a round of sneaker shopping. He was accompanied by host Joe La Pluma to the A Ma Maniere store in Atlanta.

The first question asked by Joe was regarding the corn cob problem Shaq has had throughout his adult life. The big man has some truly gross-looking feet, which we’ll spare our readers the pain of viewing.

Shaq told the story of how he wore size 13 Air Jordan 1 shoes for an entire season thus:

“Everybody was coppin em, and it was the first time that shoes like that ever came out. I was wearing Converse something – Buddies, they call it, you remember Buddies? Buddies were the cheap shoes that had their own theme song.”

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“So when those came out, everybody had them. I had to cut grass, walk dogs, babysit. And then when I went to the store, they were like ‘We don’t have size 15s, we have some 13s.'”

“I tried them on when I was walking to school and they were just hurting. That was the last time I had a pair of Jordans. I have corns now because of those shoes.”

Shaq went on to describe how he tried an old ‘tried-and-tested’ method of using hot water to expand leather. Obviously, the mantra didn’t work, and it ended up with him signing with Reebok later on.


About the author
Amulya Shekhar

Amulya Shekhar

Amulya Shekhar is a sports junkie who thrives on the thrills and frills of live sports action across basketball, football (the American variant works too), parkour, adventure sports. He believes sports connect us to our best selves, and he hopes to help people experience sports more holistically.

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