Basketball wasn’t enough for Shaquille O’Neal. Like Alexander the Great, he had other worlds to conquer. Last summer, Shaq challenged a Super Bowl champion, an MLB All-Star, a championship boxer, and three Olympic gold medalists. Bravely, he tried to beat them all at their own game. Bravely, he lost every match. I’m sure anyone with any profound love of sports hates Shaq Vs., but I dug the show. And I love that things are only getting crazier when season 2 starts tonight: Shaq is expanding his competitions to include a cook-off (vs. Rachael Ray), a magic-off (with Penn & Teller), a dance-off (with Justin Bieber), and more! Popwatch talked to Shaq about this season — he claims to have actually beaten someone this year — and about his hopes for future Shaq Vs. competitions. Believe nothing. Or believe everything.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You’re expanding the competition on Shaq Vs. outside the realm of athletics. What was the spur for that change?
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL: It’s the reality of my life. I’m more than just a basketball player. I’ll challenge you, for the article.
You’re going to write better than me?
I probably can. I’m just one of those people that’s very competitive.
Last season, you had a pretty bad record in terms of losing. Are you going to beat anyone this season?
First of all, I have never lost. Second of all, yeah, I actually have already beaten somebody. Can’t tell you who. I beat two people.
Justin Bieber is about half your size. Is that an advantage or a disadvantage in a song-and-dance competition?
I think he has the advantage. These kids have all the moves. Especially the ones that are on the internet a hundred times a day.
Who’s better at Tweeting – you or Bieber?
Oh, me! [Laughs dismissively]
He has more followers than pretty much anybody.
Well, think about it. I’m 38. I have many jobs. Justin Bieber’s 15. He has nothing to do. No chores. All he does is wake up and tweet.
That’s all kids do nowadays.
That’s what I’m saying. No chores.
What kind of magic trick did you perform in your face-off against Penn & Teller?
I did the worst magic trick ever. But it looked good, and people were clapping.
What was the trick?
I separated somebody’s head from their shoulders.
Did you put them back together?
I did, but not in the right place.
Where’d you put the head?
I can’t tell you.
Do you cook pretty often? Were you able to out-cook Rachael Ray?
Oh, yeah. Dominated it. Totally dominated that show.
Is there anybody else who you’d like to face off against on Shaq Vs.?
We were trying to get ahold of a soccer team, but it didn’t work out. It’ll be season 3.
That’s you versus an entire soccer team?
I want you to print that nobody from a certain distance away on any soccer team in the world can score on me. Nobody.