Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most entertaining television personalities in the sports world today. He’s been a staple of the NBA’s weekly coverage on TNT for years, and he provides just as many laughs as he does basketball analysis. TNT wasn’t Shaq’s first TV gig, though. He actually starred in his own reality show called Shaq vs in 2009. The show ran for two seasons and featured Michael Phelps, Dale Earnhart Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, and even Justin Bieber.
Shaquille O’Neal started his own reality show called Shaq vs in 2009
In 2009, Shaq was still playing in the NBA. He was starting his first and only year with the Cavaliers, and he decided to branch out to reality TV during the season.
Shaq vs premiered the same year. It was a unique reality show featuring O’Neal himself as the star. The premise was simple: Shaq would challenge famous athletes or celebrities to a competition in their field of expertise. He swam against Michael Phelps, boxed Oscar De La Hoya, and even cooked with Rachael Ray.
IMDb summed up the show perfectly.
“Former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal pushes his athletic prowess to the limit as he challenges world-class athletes to contests on their turf. Viewers will see not only the final contests, but the training process and pregame hype leading up to them. He’s not entirely at a disadvantage – O’Neal negotiates a handicap in advance of each competition with his opponent, and trains for a week with a coach.”
Shaquille O’Neal went 0-5 during season 1 of Shaq vs
The show was an intriguing idea for sports fans, but Shaq quickly realizedit wouldn’t be as easy to win as he thought. During the entire first season of Shaq vs, O’Neal lost the competition in every episode.
In the first episode of the series, Shaq challenged Ben Roethlisberger to a football game. O’Neal threw two touchdowns in the 7-on-7 game, but Big Ben threw the game-winning pass after O’Neal threw an interception in the end zone.
Then, Shaq played volleyball against Olympic gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, and he lost in two sets. After that, Albert Pujols beat Shaq in a home run derby.
O’Neal finished the season by fighting Oscar De La Hoya and racing Michael Phelps. He had significant handicaps in both matchups, but Shaq still lost both to finish the first season of his show 0-5.
Shaq only won 2 challenges over the course of the show
Shaq’s luck didn’t change much from season 1 to season 2 of Shaq vs. He lost the first five challenges, and it seemed as if he would never get on the board.
But, in episode 4 of season 2, Shaq finally got a win. In the first half of the episode, O’Neal beat Joey Chestnut in an eating competition. Then he beat Charles Barkley in golf later in the episode.
Shaq didn’t get to keep his momentum going for very long, though. Shaq vs was canceled after the second season, so O’Neal finished his reality show with a 2-12-1 record.