In a league where almost every player is much, much taller than the average person, Shaquille O'Neal still managed to dwarf just about everyone he faced. Conservatively measuring in at a full seven feet tall, Shaq was a dominant center whose physique looked more like a strong person blown up to 1.5 times scale rather than simply a tall athlete. His combo of strength and coordination made him a matchup nightmare for opposing teams, especially when complemented by shooting guards like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
Over Shaq's relatively long career - especially for one of the NBA's largest-ever players - he played for six teams, winning four NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVP awards, and a regular season MVP award. His jersey number was retired by both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, where he made significant contributions to two of the 21st century's most influential teams.
Throughout his career, except for perhaps a spat with Kobe that may have contributed to his departure from the Lakers, Shaq maintained an amiable demeanor and proved to be immensely popular for his enormous size, his basketball skills, and his likable personality. Side gigs, including acting in movies like Kazaam and releasing a series of rap albums, only contributed to his celebrity, and after leaving the NBA he joined faux-rival Charles Barkley as part of the NBA's most enjoyable half-time show.
Shaq has netted a considerable fortune over his lifetime, and like many of the world's wealthiest people, he's amassed quite a car collection. But unlike most wealthy collectors, Shaq faces the challenge of having to find cars that he can actually squeeze around his enormous body. Keep scrolling for 9 cars Shaq had to customize to fit into, and 8 he fit in just fine.
17 Customized Vaydor Roadster
Shaq's custom Vaydor roadster might look like an exotic and futuristic machine most likely designed at one of the world's most exclusive sports car builders, but in reality, it's a kit that fits onto the powertrain of an Infiniti G35.
The kit itself only costs around $11,000, though Shaq hired Supercraft Custom Crafted Cars to further refine the project for his needs.
The seats, pedals, and lower dash have all been modified to allow his enormous frame to fit more comfortably and the original Infiniti's roof has been entirely removed to allow for more headroom, though hopefully the low windshield still keeps the wind out of his face.
16 Vanderhall Venice 3 Wheel Roadster
The psychology behind Shaq's obsession with three-wheelers is definitely complex, but it certainly lends itself to some fun projects. Another trike he owns in a Vanderhall Venice Roadster, which combines classic motoring style ala English manufacturer Morgan, but with modern composite construction and a 180-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine motivating the tiny, 1,375-pound roadster. At least a three-wheeled roadster requires less bodywork for the extension project that enabled Shaq to fit, though an ECU tune would probably help keep the power-to-weight ratio at a good level given that he weighs almost one quarter as much as the entirety of the vehicle.
15 Convertiblized Dodge Challenger Hellcat
With the retro rage currently dominating Detroit, it almost comes as a surprise that Shaq had to customize a Dodge Challenger Hellcat into a convertible rather than finding one on at a Dodge dealer.
The original Challenger did come in drop top form, though the current iteration does not.
Even with the massive size of the modern Challenger, Shaq probably felt cramped inside its low roofline, although the legroom may have been sufficient otherwise. And with the mind-wrenching torque that the Hellcat puts out, there's no doubt it would be uncomfortable to be so tall that his head would hit the ceiling with every punch of the throttle.
14 Convertiblized Mercedes-Benz S550 Sedan
If this Mercedes-Benz seems hard to identify, the blame falls almost entirely on Shaq's massive stature, with the rest going towards his style choices. The car began its life as an S550 sedan, which had its roof chopped off, its B-column removed, and a pair of rear-opening, rear suicide doors thrown on.
That convertible top looks almost as out of place as the custom side vents, but the result is a car that Shaq can climb into and out of, as well as drive around town, with no problems.
Imagine how much easier he fits through the doorway with both front and rear swinging outwards, and the decision makes a little bit of sense - even if it doesn't look quite perfect.
13 Polaris Slingshot 3-Seater aka "SlingShaq"
The Polaris Slingshot seems like an iffy proposition for a man of Shaq's size to ever hope he could drive. But luckily, with enough funds and some help from West Coast Customs, this Slingshot has been reworked into the "SlingShaq" and now the big basketball star fits just fine. Once again, the SlingShaq has an open top, which means West Coast Customs had to put most of their efforts into enlarging the footwell so that Shaq could have a bit more legroom. The two-seater three-wheeler still looks tiny with its owner at the helm, however, and Shaq's knees look like they still stick out the side of the passenger compartment.
12 Polaris Slingshot 4-Seater
Shaq must not have been completely satisfied with the fit of his two-seater Polaris Slingshot, as he later bought himself a four-seater, which he also had modified to extend its length.
Overall, the three-wheeler looks almost as long as a full-sized sedan, even with two extra tiny rear seats forming a second row with little in the way of legroom for passengers.
With Shaq at the wheel, just about any four-seater can barely hope to hold more than three people because he's going to have to scoot the driver's seat so far back. Surprisingly, even a four-person Slingshot starts at only $16,000, though the cost of Shaq's modifications remains unknown to the public.
11 Smart Car
The idea of Shaquille O'Neal, who measures at least seven feet tall, sitting in Mercedes-Benz's Smart Car must have been too funny a concept for the big man to pass up. And with prices starting around $28,000, the gag alone was worth it, though of course Shaq was forced to get one with a retractable cloth and Targa-style roof to allow his shoulders and head to fit into the diminutive automobile. How his long legs managed to fit into the footwell is a mystery worthy of serious investigation, as his enormous feet alone seem like they're almost as big as the entire Smart Car itself.
10 Extended Ferrari F355 "Spider"
Shaq's Ferrari F355 didn't start as a convertible, but with a serious size problem due to the mid-mounted engine's location, he was forced to make massive changes to the entire car. The chassis and body have been stretched to allow for more legroom, and removing the top definitely helped him fit his head inside without stooping his neck and shoulders throughout a drive. The newly-dubbed F355 Spider still must not have been particularly comfortable, because Shaq eventually sold it to a museum collector, where it was found by Detroit police during a fraud bust still bearing the license plate "SHAQ F1".
9 Escalade with Butterfly Doors
While the Cadillac Escalade is a large car for most drivers, a man with Shaq's tastes and with his enormous body just won't feel comfortable without substantial modifications.
In this case, on top of the lowering kit, massive wheels, and Superman logo up front, he's invested in some serious work to turn the doors into upward-swinging "butterfly" doors.
While the upward motion may not actually create more space in terms of square footage for entry, Shaq's height isn't the only consideration here: he regularly tipped the scale over 300 pounds, meaning his width also presents a challenge when opening normal car doors in a parking lot.
8 Ford F-650
Out of all the pickup trucks that leave Detroit's factories, the F-650 is the perfect choice for Shaq. The enormous truck almost looks cartoonishly exaggerated, and to the normal person would create the equivalent effect of seeing a man with hands the size of Shaq's holding something average-sized like a water bottle. But for Shaq, the truck only looks like a normal truck with dualies. Perhaps that's the reason he opted to customize his personal F-650 with a Terminator theme, worried that otherwise, something so huge and awesome might end up seeming like a casual daily driver for runs down to Home Depot.
7 Land Rover Range Rover
Shaq's Range Rover may be customized with his classic Superman logo, enormous chrome wheels, and a tight-mesh grille, but the rest of the luxury SUV has remained much the same as a factory example.
Sure, he's added on a near limousine-level tint job, but for celebrities intent on driving around incognito, dark windows are a must-have.
Of course, eagle-eyed fans might still notice the badging up front, making this Super Rover more akin to Clark Kent walking around without wearing his glasses and tie. But at least Range Rover executives can rest easy knowing their high-class offerings allow for plenty of room for even the largest of customers.
6 Chevy G1500
Most people think of Chevrolet's work vans as simply that, work vans with plenty of space for hauling tools, gear, and supplies. But for a buyer as big as Shaquille O'Neal, the G1500 van is essentially a minivan, perfect for providing plenty of room for the whole family. Shaq threw on a few custom touches, from the rims to a lowering kit, side skirts, and his quintessential Superman logo (not to mention the SHAQ 34 license plate), but on the inside other than some more luxuriously-trimmed leather seats, the big center fit in just fine without massive revisions to the van's layout.
5 Buick Lacrosse
For one of Detroit's luxury brands trying to reinvigorate sales by explaining to potential customers exactly how roomy their cars are, Buick could not have chosen a better spokesperson than probably the most famously enormous, eminently lovable celebrity, Shaquille O'Neal. The fact that Shaq can actually fit into a Buick Lacrosse without looking hunched over and uncomfortable is a testament to the company's design goals, though it would definitely have been an interesting commercial to try to fit Shaq in with someone in the back seat behind him. Or even better, an out-take reel of Shaq himself trying to sit in the back seat with someone at the wheel.
4 Dodge Charger Hellcat Police Special
Only the most hardcore Shaquille O'Neal fans know that he was actually sworn in as a real Sherriff's Deputy in Clayton County, Georgia. The comical sight of seeing Shaq driving a Crown Victoria, however, went out the window quite quickly, as Sherriff Victor Hill revealed that the department had set Shaq up with a Dodge Charger Hellcat with a post on Facebook showing that the department seriously considered the problem of having Shaq actually pull anyone over in a standard cop car, saying "the question was what type of crime fighting vehicle would be worthy of Clayton’s now most famous deputy...Shaq broke the mold with a Hell Cat!"
3 Cadillac DTS aka "Shaq-a-laq"
Plenty of young athletes these days are named after Shaquille O'Neal, as the big center made immediate waves in the NBA and as a celebrity thanks to his enormous stature, lovable personality, and multitalented persona. Having a name like Shaq, so simple yet so unique (at least when he burst onto the scene) is only a perk of being the man himself, a guy who loves to rename his possessions any time anything comes even close to rhyming with his one-syllable nickname. In this case, his Cadillac DTS - complete with enormous rims and a purplish paint job - has been renamed the Shaq-a-laq.
2 Ford F-150
Ford is happy to point out at any time that their F-150 pickup truck is one of the most versatile, most utilitarian, toughest trucks out there, and that those consistent qualities have made the F-150 one of the best selling vehicles of all time. But it seems unlikely any Ford engineers would have envisioned the way Shaq made his F-150 unique: a bright gold wrap job complemented by black rims shod in low profile tires and with gold shocks to match. Once Buick's contract with Shaq is up, expect to see a bidding war for other automotive brands who want to demonstrate just how roomy their products truly are.
1 Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler has managed to evolve over nearly three decades since its introduction, but all the while remaining instantly recognizable as this country's premier off-roading vehicle.
The classic advertisement is of a Wrangler with its top down, crawling slowly over huge rocks or fording a rushing river - but it's that kind of utilitarian pliability that makes a Wrangler perfect for Shaq.
Spending much of his time in Miami and Los Angeles, with his soft top laid back and his head probably sticking above the windshield, but happy to be driving without feeling scrunched up inside the ride Enzo Ferrari once called this country's "...only real sports car."