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Shaq is up to the challenge

July 21, 2009|Maria Elena Fernandez

Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal will compete in a new sporting event each week in a new ABC reality series, "Shaq Vs.," which will premiere on Aug. 18, the network announced Monday.

Over the course of the series, O'Neal will challenge Olympian Michael Phelps in swimming; Super Bowl champ Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger in football; reigning U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams in tennis; championship fighter Oscar de la Hoya in boxing; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols in baseball; and Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor in beach volleyball.

According to USA Today, O'Neal said he came up with the idea as a fun way to help train for the NBA season and figured sports fans "would really want to see an athlete play another sport." He knew most of the athletes and recruited some of them on Twitter. Filming will begin Wednesday.

O'Neal, who will join the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, previously worked with ABC on the 2007 reality series "Shaq's Big Challenge," which involved helping overweight children in Florida lose pounds.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

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