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Justice Is Served


September 1, 2009 12:52 PM

Reality of Shaq's TV show: It bites ...

They say reality bites, but I think they were actually talking about reality shows.

No argument there if that's the point, because if people have watched Shaq O'Neal's reality show "Shaq Vs," they have but one conclusion to draw: The show bites.

Two minutes into his second episode last Tuesday (I skipped his first episode and won't dare tune in tonight for his third), I wondered why a proud network like ESPN would even bother with a show that takes viewers deep inside an athlete's obsession for the spotlight. The network had to think it's doing what paparazzi do daily as they trail Hollywood stars into the toilet.

ESPN should know better. The World Wide Leader has seen Paris Hilton, Terrell Owens, The Donald, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Hulk Hogan, among others, debase TV, taking viewers in places only the mindless want to go. None of these other celebrities, however, took us where Shaq's reality show does.

There was a time when I found Shaq an intriguing personality, but that was, oh, a decade ago when he was playing the king-sized clown for boys and girls everywhere. But his public feud with Kobe Bryant changed my image of him. No, I don't blame the 7-foot-1 Shaq alone for what happened between he and Kobe. Pro basketball is a game of gigantic egos, and L.A. wasn't large enough for two egos the size of Mount Everest.

Ego is a funny thing, because it soon turns into arrogance. That's what Shaq's show is: brazen arrogance. Because it takes arrogance of the highest order for an athlete to go out of his element and expect to compete against top athletes in a different sport, even if it is for giggles.

I would no more expect Shaq to hit a CC Sabathia fastball than I would expect Sabathia to slam dunk in Shaq's face. I'd like to think Shaq (and ESPN) was wise enough to see that, too.

Wisdom, however, doesn't always come with age. Often, we seem to lose a few IQ points as our 20s roll into our 30s, our 30s roll into our 40s and our 40s roll ... OK, OK, you get my message here, right?

But as much as I want to pimp-slap Shaq for his stupidity, the culprit behind this reality show fiasco is The World Wide Leader itself. The network aided and abetted this reality mess, and it shouldn't compound this stupidity by keeping the show on the air.

Please, ESPN, spare us on Tuesday nights from seeing a side of Shaq that nobody wants to waste an hour on -- not even Shaq.

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