How to improve upon "Shaq Vs."


The only live episode I saw of “Shaq Vs.” was the Albert Pujols one, and to say the least I did not come away impressed.

After going back on YouTube and watching a few of the other clips last night, I maintain that I love the idea but not the execution of the show. My favorite part of the season had to be watching Big Ben draining jumpers all over the court in HORSE and Shaq shooting like, well, Shaq (see above). I mean, Ben played Shaq at his own sport and crushed him.

Overall I thought the fake movie-style announcers were a joke, and so was the fake crowd. It was also ridiculous that Shaq’s fences were so damn close and obvious that a super slugger like Albert Pujols would outslug him, as Shaq’s monstrous advantages in all of the sports seemed to take much of the fun out of the show.

I feel like this was just one more chance for the Big Showoff to stay in the national spotlight for a couple more seconds, and for that the show must have been a success.

Sure, you could say Shaq’s charisma made the show go, but think about what he actually did. He competed against these athletes with a gargantuan advantage. If you give me enough of an advantage, even I could beat Michael Phelps in the pool.

When you think of athletes playing across sports, Shaq is about the last guy you would ever want to see in such a competition, unless he was competing with Leonard Davis to see who can be a better monstrous offensive lineman or Kobayashi to see who can eat more hot dogs (that I would watch).

That takes me back to the original “Why couldn’t this have been Steve Nash?” premise.

Shaq contends this was his idea all along, telling KLAC in LA, “Steve had a similar idea. We’ve had many conversations on the bus. With me being the teammate that I am, I made him executive producer. But you know the story. Everything that Shaquille O’Neal has done is being created by the little boy named Shaquille O’Neal inside the big guy named Shaquille O’Neal. All the commercials for 17 years, I’ve created.”

I believe Shaq when he says Nash only had a “similar idea” as much as I believe that little boy Shaq has created O’Neal’s commercials and not the people who are paid to do just that. It’s too bad the little boy Shaq didn’t realize Nash would be a much better fit for this show like many other little boys in this nation would.

If there were to be another show in the “Shaq Vs.” mold, I would suggest pitting athletes from different sports against each other in both of their sports, kind of like the Big Ben thing at the beginning. You could have two different athletes every episode competing in two drill-type events (like HORSE and football passing drills) from each sport and two game-like competitions. Then they could then face off in one sport that neither of them plays to finish it off.

Could you imagine watching two-sport athletes like Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson in such a competition through the years? I’d even like to see how the king of charity basketball games (Terrell Owens) matches up against real pros and how mediocre college basketball players like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates (who ended up becoming halfway decent tight ends) would fare.

I’d love to see Nash and Barbosa taking on soccer players (and hockey players for Nash), and Matt Barnes dropping back in the pocket as a QB or hauling in a long pass as a receiver.

While we’re at it, how cool would it be to see NFL teams pick their five best basketball players and hitting the hardwood or basketball teams playing some touch football against each other. Would LeBron James be as good of a football player as that State Farm commercial would have you believe?

These are the types of thing I’ve always wondered, but because athletes have such inflated egos and high insurance premiums, I never thought would be answered.

The premise of “Shaq Vs.” was entertaining and parts were pure gold, but it was too fake, too much of a setup for my tastes. Although Shaq didn’t exactly always win, you knew there would always be a made-for-TV, “it all comes down to this” moment.

But we love sports because they’re unpredictable, and I’d love to see an athlete or group of athletes (executive producer Nash, perhaps?) take this idea and make it into a real competition.

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