If the 1980s taught us anything, it’s that all is fair in love & war, and business = war. Shaquille O’Neal must have been paying attention when he was growing up. Did you watch the first episode of the new reality show “Shaq Vs.,” in which O’Neal is pitted against different sports celebrities in their own games? At least one person — Steve Nash — thought that show looked very familiar.
That’s because it was Nash’s idea, and Shaq stole it.
If you watched the credits following Tuesday’s debut episode (and I pity you if you’re that deathly bored), you may have noticed that Nash is listed as an executive producer. That’s what you get — plus a bundle of cash, I presume — when you mention your idea for a new reality show to a friend, and that friend “borrows” the idea and makes his own show. Come on, Shaq!
The ARIZONA REPUBLIC is reporting that in February 2008, shortly after O’Neal was traded to Phoenix, Nash mentioned to him his idea of a reality show in which he (Nash) would go up against athletes in other sports. Then early last season, O’Neal announced to the team that he was going to have his own reality show, in which he would go up against athletes in other sports.
Imagine cartoon steam coming out of Nash’s ears at that moment. The Suns point guard decided to throw down by hiring an entertainment lawyer, the result of which presumably was the producer’s credit, and probably cash.
From the REPUBLIC:
When reached Wednesday, Nash would not confirm the story.
“We collaborated on parts of the show,” Nash said. “I support him 100 percent. I thought the first episode was a fantastic episode, and I can’t wait for the next one.”
That’s something you would expect Nash to say. He often has played the role of locker-room peacemaker. He is known as a teammate who diffuses tough situations before they escalate.
In reality, a source close to Nash said, “Steve was pissed. He couldn’t believe Shaq’s lack of integrity.”
The experience set the tone for some shaky chemistry on the court. Off it, Nash found himself in a difficult situation, trying to co-exist with a teammate who had blindsided him.
“He’s moved on,” the source said. “He really does want the show to succeed.”
Calls made to O’Neal’s representatives were not returned.
I haven’t seen the show, but some have said it’s pretty entertaining. The next episode, to air on Tuesday, pits Shaq against Albert Pujols in, among other things, a home run hitting contest. The taping of that episode, at T.R. Hughes Stadium in O’Fallon, Missouri, caused a bit of a stir last week when a radio station gave away 6,000 free tickets, and police had to warn others to stay away from the area.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to find a buyer for my reality show idea about people gathered together at a remote, tropical location, where they engage in athletic feats and vote each other off the show, all while being judged by a celebrity panel featuring Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff, which I’m calling “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
*UPDATE*: Shaq responds about TV show theft to Twitter follower: