Shaquille O’Neal suffered permanent foot damage from wearing Air Jordan 1 sneakers 2 sizes too small for him.
The popularity of Air Jordan 1 shoes can be expressed in raw numbers. Michael Jordan received a $4 million lump sum and royalty – the first of its kind – for each 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. That, in itself, justified their decision to invest in the Bulls superstar from the start. Sonny Vaccaro is the man credited with getting the Jordan family on board.
Priced at $65, it was a shoe every kid wanted to buy. The Air Jordan 1, especially the Breds, has people shelling 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 no longer wears Air Jordan shoes
The Big Aristotle was invited by Complex.com for a sneaker shopping tour. He was joined by host Joe La Pluma at the A Ma Maniere store in Atlanta.
The first question Joe asked was about the problem with corn on the cob that Shaq had throughout his adult life. The tall man has some truly disgusting feet, which we’ll spare our readers the trouble of seeing.
Shaq shared how he wore size 13 Air Jordan 1 shoes for an entire season:
“Everyone was coppin’ on them, and it was the first time shoes like that came out. I was wearing something from Converse – Buddies, they call it, remember Buddies? The Buddies were the cheap shoes that had their own theme song.
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“So when these came out, everyone had them. I had to mow the grass, walk the dogs, babysit. And then when I went to the store they said, ‘We don’t have size 15, we have 13’.
“I tried them on my way to school and they just hurt. That was the last time I had a pair of Jordans. I have corns now from those shoes.
Shaq went on to describe how he tried an old “tried and true” method of using hot water to stretch the leather. Obviously the mantra didn’t work and he ended up signing with Reebok later on.