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Ben Roethlisberger Beats Shaquille O'Neal in H-O-R-S-E on Shaq Versus

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Ben Roethlisberger Beats Shaquille O'Neal in H-O-R-S-E on Shaq Versus
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Also seen at Protect the Paint

At the 16-minute mark of the premiere of Shaq Versus, I hit the "Guide" button on my remote to see how long this show was.

An hour? This takes an hour? Forty-four more minutes of this didn't seem possible.

I assumed Shaquille O’Neal was going to race an ostrich, or rap, or something, but he didn’t.

I wonder if LeBron James was watching? Apparently, not too many people were.

The show began with O'Neal on a private jet flying into Pittsburgh, Pa., with the sole purpose of quarterbacking against the two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger in some sort of college overtime-like scenario with no pass rush.

Not that anything in the show was necessary, but the two announcers on the funny Shaq Versus set served about the same purpose as the ball boys.

I knew Shaq Versus was in trouble when the title character couldn’t beat Big Ben in a game of H-O-R-S-E. But since I’d already dedicated 32 minutes of my life, I felt I needed to gut it out.

To fill up this entire hour, the viewing audience was treated to O'Neal's combine practice, during which he ran a 5.8 in the 40. Then, Charlie Batch tackled the task of teaching Shaq how to quarterback.

Watching late night infomercials could be called more thought-provoking.

O'Neal and Roethlisberger then did a ridiculous face off before the game. For the contest, O’Neal dressed sort of Tom Cruise-like from All the Right Moves. It wasn’t exactly an Ampipe High jersey, but it was close. 

O'Neal went ahead two scores to one, but his luck changed when he illegally joined the defense and picked off Big Ben. Shaq wound up losing the circus.

OK, enough with the X-ing and O-ing of this ridiculous made-for-TV disaster that turned out nothing like I'd hoped it would.

If you're James, what are you thinking? Maybe something along the lines of, "don’t get injured" or "go practice your free throws," or "don’t get injured."

O'Neal has four rings, so what does it matter to him? You’d think his motivation to win a fifth title now that Kobe has four would mean an offseason of grueling conditioning, Pilates, thousands of free throws, and maybe even some time with a shrink in case the free throw issues are between the ears.

But few would believe gallivanting around the country participating in sports he normally does not participate in best prepares him for his first—Cavs fans hope not the last—year with LeBron.

Shaq is coming off a good statistical season in Phoenix, but it was one that didn’t result in a postseason appearance. Instead, the lingering memory of Shaq last year was his well-choreographed intro with the JabbaWockeeZ dance troupe at the NBA All-Star Game.

LeBron is hoping Shaq’s goofy TV appearancesyou know Dancing with the Stars is in his futuredon’t get in the way of his first title.

Cavalier fans are hoping he doesn’t hurt himself during this self-promotion and that his priority is another NBA Titlewhich would likely keep LeBron a Cavinstead of infamy on reality TV.

Future episodes of Shaq Versus will feature Albert Pujols, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams.

I’m guessing he beats at least one of them in H-O-R-S-E.


Listen on the radio Saturday and Sunday nights—Tune into Patrick Mauro’s Sports Overnight America Weekend from 10:06 p.m. to 1 a.m. PDT

You can call the show at (800) 878-PLAY (7529)

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