The NBA legend, recording artist, actor and law enforcer is now in the midst of his second season of Shaq Vs., a show in which O’Neal takes on champions in just about any type of competition imaginable.
He has cooked against Rachael Ray, spelled against Kavya Shivashankar, and swam against Michael Phelps.
Tuesday morning on WEEI, Shaq told Michael Holley, “I’ll beat you in whatever it is, buddy. Whatever it is. Rowing,
swimming, baseball, whatever. Just let me know the
time and place.”
He’s never faced off against an entire city though, and Boston’s most famous natives likely would be stiff competition for the big man.
Here are the ten best matchups possible if Shaq were to do an entire Shaq Vs. Beantown season.
Shaq Vs. Mark Wahlberg — Freestyle Rap Battle
While Boston may have many hip-hop artists more talented than Marky Mark, a competition between the creator of “Good Vibrations” and Shaq may be the ultimate clash for the title of worst rapper ever. Neither, for sure, are known for Lil’ Flip-esque freestyle skills. Wahlberg pretty quickly realized that his future was elsewhere, switching gears to fitness videos, underwear modeling and finally acting. Shaq has never been primarily an MC, but he has continued to dabble in the art even after this.
Shaq’s eaten donuts on Pardon the Interruption and apparently has taken a hot dog-eating challenge from Joey Chestnut for the current season of Shaq Vs., but Boston has a competitive eater of its own that could take down the 325-pounder. Jason “Crazy Legs” Conti, star of Zen and The Art of Competitive Eating, the seminal documentary on the niche sport, hails from Boston and has held several world records, including the oyster, green beans and sweet corn disciplines. He’s the 14th-ranked eater in the world and is a true ambassador of the sport — serving as the color commentator on Spike TV’s coverage of MLE events. Conti, like Shaq, is a jack- of-all-trades. He occasionally can be seen as a window washer in New York City.
Watching Shaq navigate a balance beam may be even funnier than seeing him tumbling on the floor, but we can’t forget that beam is one of the female events. Sacramone, a Boston native, recently returned to competitive gymnastics after her post-Olympics layoff. She placed first in beam and vault at the Cover Girl Classic this past July. Gymnastics is one of the few pursuits that O’Neal has not given a run at, but if his dance moves are any indication of his abilities, he’d be in some trouble against the Olympian.
Shaq has never been particularly outspoken about politics, but he has in fact expressed interest in running for office. Considering the many states to which O’Neal has connections, he would likely have an advantage in a presidential election. He won three titles in the state with the most electoral votes, California, and played high school ball in the second largest, Texas. He also brought a championship to critical swing-state Florida, was born in well-populated New Jersey and played his college ball in Louisiana. If he can hold his own against Massachusetts’ two senators in a debate, he could add another state to his coalition. There is one thing that we know — he’d be tough on crime.
This would be a pretty tough one to call, given the dramatic turn for the worse that Affleck’s career took after 1997. After a great early acting career in movies like Dazed and Confused and School Ties that are still cable must-watches, Affleck peaked with Chasing Amy and Good Will Hunting. Armageddon and Shakespeare in Love may have been good, but that definitely wasn’t Affleck’s doing. Thereafter, he went on to star in masterpieces like Jersey Girl, Daredevil, and magnum opus Gigli. Kazaam and Steel may have been tough to watch, but Gigli most certainly give’s O’Neal’s work a run for its money.
O’Neal may have already taken on Albert Pujols on his show, but Pujols never has won the real event. Ortiz, on the other hand, is the reigning champion. Having some experience likely would help O’Neal, but his best bet probably would be to follow Ortiz’s advice and microwave his cleats.
Clearly, Shaq is an artist. Rap, it seems, is not his forte, and he’d perhaps be best served to express himself creatively by singing. Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler may be 62 years old at this point, but he still has been able to scream out classics on the Cocked, Locked, and Ready tour this year. Shaq’s best singing experience? His ringtone accompanied version of the Cheers theme in a diss of Vlade Divac.
While Shawn Thornton handles most of the enforcing duties for the Bruins, his 11-inch disadvantage against Shaq would be tough to overcome, even on skates. At 6-foot-9, Chara would be more than tall enough to take on O’ Neal in a fair fight, and he surely has ample experience with the gloves off. While O’Neal has never pulled a Ron Artest, the center has had a few moments over the course of his career, most notably with Andrew Bynum and Charles Barkley. Still, Chara would probably have the edge on the ice.
What happens when the Celtics win a title? They ride around the city on duck boats during their victory parade. So who better to have driving the boat in 2011 than O’Neal. How about getting Shaq some practice against Roush Fenway’s own Carl Edwards? That way, Shaq could drive fast enough that Ray Allen wouldn’t be able to show off these moves.
Odd piece of trivia: West Newbury, Mass., native and WWE superstar John Cena — who also attended Cushing Academy and Springfield College — is apparently good friends with Carl Edwards. It seems almost destiny for Shaq to join WWE whenever his career is over. It could be a platform for his music, his acting, and is perfect for a man of his size. He has expressed interest in competing in the UFC, but WWE is probably a better fit. UFC careers end at about the age that Shaq is already, but WWE careers can go on and on. How old is The Undertaker right now? This wouldn’t be the first time that he’s pulled off the Shaqdown.