Future episodes of the hour-long show will feature Shaq against Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, tennis star Serena Williams and beach volleyball Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.
Shaq told USA Today that he came up with the idea as a way to train for the NBA season. Shaq figured Americans “would really want to see an athlete play another sport,” according to the newspaper. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Shaq’s new team, have cleared the 37-year-old O’Neal to take part in the show.
He is scheduled to report for the Cavs’ opening of training camp on Sept. 15.
According to USA Today, the episodes will feature preliminary challenges, news conferences, quality time with needy kids and negotiations of a handicap between Shaq and his competitors. Each episode will climax with a main event.
There’s no cash prize for the winner. “Bragging rights are always better than any monetary prize,” O’Neal told USA Today.
Shaq will train with a coach for one week leading up to each challenge.
“These athletes may be on top of their game, but I am up for the challenge,” O’Neal said. “I plan to train hard and win, so look out.”
Monday he will be the guest host on World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Monday Night Raw” in Washington, D.C. The show airs at 9 p.m. on USA.
The show is currently running a story-line that involves a different celebrity guest host in charge each week. O’Neal will join the ranks Hall of Fame rockers ZZ Top, who hosted Monday night, and actor/comedian Seth Green, who hosted July 13.
On one hand, this is kinda fun. I’m still not quite used to the phrase “Cavalier center Shaquille O’Neal” and having someone of this stature on the Cavs is kinda neat. This guy is a super-duper star.
But like I said with all the fake pictures and promotional videos… if the Cavs win, it’s all good. If they lose, they’ve opened themselves to a lot of (justifiable) criticism. If Shaq shows up to camp out of shape when he spent his summer filming a TV show… not gonna look good.