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Shaq to test skills in other sports
ABC show to feature O'Neal against Serena Williams, Albert Pujols and others
Maybe Shaquille O'Neal's new nickname should be the Big Experimenter.
In a new ABC reality television series that begins filming this week, Shaq will take on other top athletes in their own sports.
"Shaq Vs.," which is set to premiere Aug. 18 at 9 p.m. ET, begins filming Wednesday in Pittsburgh, where Shaq will take on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football.
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."