Shaq Attaq: A History of Shaquille O’Neal’s Reebok Signature Line

It’s often been said in the basketball sneaker industry that “big men cant sell sneakers”. But there have been a few exceptions to that rule, perhaps none more obvious than Shaquille O’Neal. In the guard and forward dominated signature sneaker market with the Michael Jordans, Penny Hardaways, and LeBron Jameses of the world, the center position has certainly not gotten as much love when it comes to brands dishing out signature sneaker deals.

But Shaquille O’Neal was no ordinary center. With the hype surrounding his entrance into the NBA in 1992 and the dominant game to back it up, Shaq was quickly rewarded with a signature shoe deal with Reebok, who was then an unproven upstart in the basketball sneaker market. The gamble paid off for Reebok, as Shaq would go on to become the most marketable big man in the history of the game—a success on and off the court—who had no problem moving units of his signature “Shaq Attaq” sneaker line. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Shaq put Reebok on the map in the basketball world, and was the catalyst for the bold design language that the brand would become known for throughout the 90’s.

From the first Shaq Attaq model which debuted in 1992, to his last Reebok model in 1998, Shaquille O’Neal was a major force in the basketball sneaker world, and proved all the naysayers of the center position’s ability to sell sneakers wrong.

Thanks to Reebok Classic, the Shaq Attaq IV just returned to the shelves for the first time ever since its original release in 1995. In celebration, I thought we would take a detailed look at Shaquille’s first four signature shoes, all under the “Shaq Attaq” moniker. While his line with Reebok would continue after the Attaq series, producing great models like the iconic Shaqnosis and beefy Preacher, it was these first four Shaq Attaq sneakers that laid the foundation for the most successful big man signature line in history.

01
of 04

Shaq Attaq - 1992

reebok-shaq-attaq-retro-1.jpg
via Packer Shoes

The Shaq Attaq was not only Shaq’s first signature shoe, but definitely one of his greatest. Just like Shaq, the shoe’s design was big and bold, with eye-catching color blocking in Shaq’s Orlando Magic color scheme. A few years ahead of the Air Jordan XI, which is often credited as being the first basketball shoe to feature a carbon fiber support shank, the Shaq Attaq utilized Reebok’s Graphlite plate for extra support in the midfoot. The Shaq Attaq also featured the brand’s premier technology of the time, the Pump, for a customized fit and feel. The Shaq Attaq released originally in only two colorways, home and away Orlando looks, which both returned for the first time ever in 2013. The original Shaq Attaq remains one of Shaq’s most popular shoes ever, only competing with the Shaqnosis for most collectors’ favorite Shaq signature.

02
of 04

Shaq Attaq 2 - 1993

sn-select-classic-reebok-shaq-attaq-ii-1.jpg
via SneakerNews.com
The second Shaq Attaq is certainly the odd-ball of the series, and a bit of a head-scratcher with its takedown appearance. You would think that Reebok would try to outdo the first Shaq signature, but instead they appear to have went the opposite route, creating a lower cut, Pump-less design. The Shaq Attaq 2 will remain an obscurity, as it saw little time on Shaq’s feet originally (only about half of the 1993-94 NBA season) and has little chance of ever getting the retro treatment with its lackluster design. While it’s not a bad shoe, it just doesn’t have the boldness of other Shaq models.
03
of 04

Shaq Attaq 3 - 1994

Reebok-insta-pump-shaq-attaq-3-recolored.jpg

Shaq’s signature series got more interesting again with the third installment, the Shaq Attaq 3. It’s design is fairly basic, but returns to a higher cut and is (literally) pumped with more technology. The Shaq Attaq 3 debuted the Instapump in Shaq’s line, a modified Pump system which utilized an independent Pump gun armed with a CO2 cartridge for fast an easy inflation. The 3 also introduced Reebok’s Hexalite cushioning to the Shaq Attaq line.

04
of 04

Shaq Attaq 4 - 1995

ShaqAttaq-IV_Profile_White_Loose.jpg
Reebok
Shaq’s most memorable model since the first, the Shaq Attaq 4 is big, bold and beautiful with an ultra high cut and aggressive design. The Shaq Attaq 4 also featured Instapump technology and Hexalite cushioning. This shoe is quite important historically, as it was the shoe Shaq wore en route to his first NBA Finals appearance with the Orlando Magic in 1995. The Shaq Attaq 4 is the second “Attaq” series model to receive a retro release, returning for the first time ever in July 2014.