Shaquille O’Neal came up with the idea for his new TV series, “Shaq Vs.,” as a way to train for his upcoming season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Shaq, a 15-time All-Star center, will challenge top athletes in their respective sports, including swimming against Olympic superstar Michael Phelps in the premiere Aug. 18. He also will try his football skills against Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, box retired world champion Oscar De La Hoya, bat against St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols, trade tennis volleys with Wimbledon champ Serena Williams and play volleyball against Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.
O’Neal will negotiate a handicap with his opponents and 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.”
Shaq will compete against Roethlisberger, the Steelers’ Super Bowl-winning QB, in a 7-on-7 passing drill to be filmed this week in the Pittsburgh area.
Although he has just one season left on his NBA contract, Shaq, 37, says he wants to play three more years and is hoping he can help Cleveland superstar LeBron James win his first league title.