Shaq vs. Serena Williams in tennis?

posted by Pretty Tough
Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 5:28pm EDT

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 ABC  is set to air “Shaq Vs.,” a reality show pitting four times hoops champion Shaquille O’Neal against top athletes in their own sports.

O’Neal, who he’s scheduled to report for NBA training camp Sept. 15 as he joins the Cleveland Cavaliers next season,  began filming this week in Pittsburgh, where he’ll take on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football. 

Other episodes will pit O’Neal against Michael Phelps in swimming, Oscar De La Hoya in boxing, Albert Pujols in baseball, Serena Williams in tennis and Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in beach volleyball.

O’Neal says 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. He is hoping to book pal Lance Armstrong for a cycling competition once the Tour de France ends.

Each episode will include preliminary challenges along with some comical “trash talking.”  But  when it comes to competing, there is no joking, O’Neal says.

At the finish is the marquee event, usually on the athlete’s home turf, but there’s no cash prize: “Bragging rights are always better than any monetary prize,” O’Neal says

Set your DVRs. The series is set to premiere Aug. 18 and will air Tuesdays at 9 ET/PT.

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