O‘Neal is one of the largest men alive. He wears size-22 basketball shoes, which are made for him by a company called Starter; they are all white and finished with a shiny gloss, reminiscent, in their sheen and size, of the hull of a luxury yacht. (When the Lakers’ equipment manager, a rotund man in the mid-five-foot range named Rudy Garciduenas, carries the shoes into the locker room before a game, he cradles them in gentle arms, as if he were the nursemaid of Otus and Ephialtes, the twin giant sons of Poseidon.) O’Neal’s cars must have their interiors ripped out and their seats moved back ten inches before he is able to drive them. (His most recent acquisition is a Ferrari Spider convertible, a birthday gift from his father that was, as he pointed out to reporters in the Lakers’ locker room one night, bought with his own earnings. O’Neal’s Spider has its top down permanently, since he’s too big for the convertible to convert.) O’Neal’s pants have an outside seam of four feet six and a half inches. He has never encountered a hotel-room showerhead that was high enough for him to stand under, an inconvenience for a man who spends months at a time on the road. When he speaks on a cell phone, he holds it in front of his mouth and talks into it as if it were a walkie-talkie, and then swivels it up to his ear to listen, as if the phone were a tiny planet making a quarter orbit around the sun of his enormous head.
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