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  #1  
Old 10-04-05, 11:17 PM
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Shaq "returns to alien roots" & gains 15 pounds of "muscle"

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MIAMI -- Shaquille O'Neal has a warning for the NBA: The alien is back.

As if the league's other 29 teams didn't have enough to worry about with Miami's offseason acquisitions of Jason Williams, Antoine Walker, James Posey and Gary Payton, now there's this: O'Neal has showed up to training camp with even more muscle on his already hulking frame.



Shaq's got big muscles and fun quotes on media day.
Shaq says he's been working out twice a day in the offseason and currently weighs 340 pounds, about 15 pounds more than his playing weight of a year ago. And all that new weight is muscle.

"I was an earthling last season," Shaq said in reference to his strength level. "I had to go back to my alien roots."

He decided after Miami's loss to Detroit in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals that he had focused too much on conditioning and didn't feel his usual dominant self down the stretch. Shaq had spent the 2004 offseason trying to keep his weight down, hoping to ease the strain on his joints and keep him fresh for the playoffs.

But in spite of finishing second in the MVP voting, O'Neal was a bit disappointed in the results -- especially his relative lack of effectiveness against Detroit in the conference finals. This year, he wants to go back to being the self-proclaimed Most Dominant Ever.

"Last summer I did all cardio, didn't do any weights, and was kind of weak," he said. "This year it was all weights, two times a day."

O'Neal's change of focus from conditioning to strength is a bit of a gamble, however, especially since he could easily overpower opponents even at his previous size.

As teammate Alonzo Mourning noted, "He didn't have to lift any weights. All he has to do is show up on the block."

The 33-year-old center has an arthritic toe and has been periodically sidelined by other leg problems over the past few seasons. He's missed 54 games all told in the past four years, or an average of 13.5 per. (Last season was actually his best of the batch, with only nine absences.)

By putting additional strain on limbs and digits that are already taking a pounding from his lumbering mass every night, it's not clear that he's lessened his injury risk. For proof, look no further than last season's failure against Detroit, when Shaq's leg problems were a major factor.

But fortunately for O'Neal, the Heat have plenty of solid players backing him up. Mourning has signed up for a full season after giving the Miami frontcourt a spark down the stretch last season. Behind him, Michael Doleac and newly signed Earl Barron are true centers who also can hit the outside jumper.


Pro Basketball Forecast

"Pro Basketball Forecast: 2005-06," by John Hollinger, is now available at Amazon.com and Potomac Books.

"We have the deepest frontcourt in the league," said Mourning, "which should help, especially down the stretch."

With three quality backups, that should be allow Shaq to get more rest during the regular season and save his energy for the playoffs. The hope in Miami is that those reduced regular-season minutes will offset the additional pounding his lower body takes from carrying the extra muscle, allowing him to dominate when the game mean the most.

He also may have to carry less of an offensive load in Miami's revamped lineup. In spite of Shaq's summer bulk-up program, Miami figures to be a more uptempo team this season. That could result in his being left behind while the other Heat players are running the break. Miami added Williams and Posey to the lineup, both of whom excel in the open court, and the Williams addition also allows Wade to run out ahead and use his outstanding transition skills.

"We will try to run more," noted Heat coach Stan Van Gundy. "But I don't think it has to be mutually exclusive. We can take advantage of Shaq's rebounding to start the break. But do we want to run and up down like Phoenix and leave Shaq at halfcourt? No."

And O'Neal is content to be starting the breaks rather than finishing off half-court sets.

"If I'm the guy getting the rebound and getting it to J-Will for the fast break, then that's two points. I don't worry about [Miami running]," he said. Besides, "You know and I know in the playoffs it's all going to slow down."

That's when he hopes his more muscular frame can dominate against the Pistons' smaller Ben Wallace -- something he failed to do in his past two postseasons.

If so, he can credit his offseason of pumping iron as the reason why.

And if not?

It will be just one more offseason move for Heat fans to second guess in June.

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. His new book, "Pro Basketball Forecast: 2005-06," is now available at both Amazon.com and Potomac Books.

Last edited by dunkman; 10-04-05 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 10-04-05, 11:23 PM
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ESPN swingin' on Shaq's knob.
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Old 10-04-05, 11:26 PM
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We've heard this same story like 3 summers in a row
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Old 10-04-05, 11:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkman
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By putting additional strain on limbs and digits that are already taking a pounding from his lumbering mass every night, it's not clear that he's lessened his injury risk. For proof, look no further than last season's failure against Detroit, when Shaq's leg problems were a major factor.
My thoughts exactly. I foresee a major blowout of the knees or some other lower joint (which will coincide with periodic meltdowns in the locker room when things really start to go south).
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Old 10-04-05, 11:28 PM
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I didn't really see that much of an improvement in endurance last year anyways. He's more effective being dominant 32 than when he is trying to pace himself for 38.
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Old 10-04-05, 11:32 PM
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Shaq did appear weaker than usual in the ECF, being unable to move Elden Campbell on several occasions. But I thought that was really because of his lack of conditioning due to the thigh bruise.

He really should be trying to get around 325. This is just a cop-out excuse, the same one he's been using in LA.
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Old 10-04-05, 11:41 PM
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i doubt they let him lift weights twice a day. Thats really bad for ur muscles. You need atleast 48 hours of rest in between, not 3.
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Old 10-05-05, 05:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaSpuRRs21
i doubt they let him lift weights twice a day. Thats really bad for ur muscles. You need atleast 48 hours of rest in between, not 3.
You're right. That's why they've designed split training programs.

Perhaps Snaq's weight training schedule is just an excuse for him to chow down more protein-rich grub like cheeseburgers and Krispy Kremes.
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Old 10-05-05, 05:19 AM
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Same old story. And to me, he seems to look the same every year. He told the league to watch out last year too.
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Old 10-05-05, 05:36 AM
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340 pounds is still a lot of weight to be carrying around for a guy who has had trouble staying healthy the past 3 or 4 seasons. I really don't see why he needs to get stronger, he needs to get lighter to help with the load his legs have to carry through a regular season.
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Old 10-05-05, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaSpuRRs21
i doubt they let him lift weights twice a day. Thats really bad for ur muscles. You need atleast 48 hours of rest in between, not 3.
In the morning he had 6 Shaq Snacks on each side of the bar and in the afternoon (after a hardy lunch) he did table to mouth french fry curls until the ketchup ran out... A grueling pace, but when you need to put on 15 pounds of "muscle" you know the saying: "no Whopper, no gain"...
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Old 10-05-05, 07:16 AM
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This same story has come out at the start of the season for like the last 3 years
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Old 10-05-05, 07:24 AM
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come on Shaq, who are we kidding?

I guess you couldn't say out loud that all those burgers are meant to improve your health, so it's weight you're focusing on...
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Old 10-05-05, 07:29 AM
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After a couple of road trip buffets, he'll be back to his playing weight of 425!
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Old 10-05-05, 07:48 AM
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Apparently, cardio and weight training are incompatible.
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Old 10-05-05, 10:01 AM
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It's a yearly ritual I have. When Shaq has his "I'm in shape this year" press conference, I know it's time to start breaking out the Halloween decorations.
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Old 10-05-05, 10:18 AM
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Dear Shaquille,

Please don't gain anymore weight.

Sincerely,
Your Joints and Ligaments
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Old 10-05-05, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAScrub
Dear Shaquille,

Please don't gain anymore weight.

Sincerely,
Your Joints and Ligaments
Dear Snaq,

Eat all you want. Also continue to abuse your body.

Thanks,
The rest of the NBA.


I guess he needed some "comfort food" for only making 20 Mil a year. I really do worry about his family having enough to eat. Really someone could starve if they can't hide the food from Snaq.

I guess he got tired of doing his 3 second rule lane sprints. Why worry about those if the NBA will let you just camp out under the net.

I guess he is "Hungry for another Championship"?

Maybe he watched Bravos special on why it is great to be FAT?

You know when he sacrificed that 10 mil he probably does'nt have enough money to buy new clothes for a 320 lb frame so he had to go back to his 340 weight so he could wear his old wardrobe?

I heard Snaq is "working out twice a day for his new championship carreer in the I.F.O.C.E. (the International Federation of Competitive Eaters) and bring back the "belt" from Takeru Kobayashi. Man that Kobayashi can eat!

Anyone else have any ideas?

Last edited by texan in domerland 1; 10-05-05 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 10-05-05, 12:38 PM
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Tell Fatty or ET...whatever he prefers these days...that we'll be waiting for him
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Old 10-05-05, 12:54 PM
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PFFFFTTT! Every year he supposedly comes back better than ever and runs his smack about how everyone better watch it. But he never does ever seem to get back on transition defense.
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Old 10-05-05, 12:57 PM
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Stronger muscles can help prevent some injuries...the weight will have significant negative impact on his arthritis though. Look for him to play more restricted minutes in the regular season than ever.
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Old 10-05-05, 02:08 PM
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I feel sorry for him...
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  #23  
Old 10-05-05, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
And all that new weight is muscle.
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