For the last two Tuesdays I’ve found myself watching Shaq Vs., the new show on ABC. In it, Shaquille O’Neal takes on top athletes from around the country in their respective sport. The results are predictably hilarious. In the first episode Shaq took on Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in a 7 on 7, two-hand touch football game. Roethlisberger’s team won, but the highlight of the night came when Shaq left the sideline to pick off Big Ben’s pass and rumble down the field for a score (which did not count.)
In last night’s episode, Shaq took on the best sand volleyball team in the world, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh. Again, he lost, but he put forth a respectable effort.
I’ve stated my general disdain for basketball on numerous occasions. I just really don’t like the game. I must say, though, that I love Shaquille O’Neal. I wish all athletes were like him.
I say this for many reasons. As far as I know, Shaq has never been arrested for anything. To the normal human being, this may not seem like big deal. However, in the world of pro sports, that isn’t the case. Right, Kobe? Right Pacman? Right, Plaxico? Right Rick Pitino? Okay, Pitino wasn’t arrested, but still. You get the idea.
Shaq’s worst deed was the war of words with Kobe Bryant after the bitter divorce from LA Lakers. I actually thought that was pretty funny.
He’s a wonderful media personality, which is great for an interview. He gives himself nicknames like “The Big Aristotle.” That’s funny.
Now he stars in this show that brings superstar athletes closer to the fans, something I’m all for doing. (Though it was actually Steve Nash’s idea, but would you have really watched that? I would’ve, but that’s beside the point.)
Plus, we get to see a 7’1″, 350 pound man try sports that really don’t fit him. Next week he’s taking on Albert Pujols in a home run derby. It’s going to be great.
Shaq is great at this because he’s a great trash talker, too. You can tell he’s kidding when he says things, but you also get that sense that he doesn’t want to lose. At all. I’m not sure many other athletes have this entire package. They would either be too competitive or not competitive enough…or just not funny. They also wouldn’t be 7 feet tall.
In short, I’d suggest watching on Tuesday’s nights at 8 central on ABC. You get to see athletes out of their element and little more like the rest of us.
It also gives me a reason to put this up here.
On a completely unrelated note, I applied to be on ABC’s Wipeout today. I’ll let you know if anything comes of that.