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Shaq Rooting for T.O.

PASADENA, Calif. -- The biggest star at an ABC party that closed the television critics tour Saturday night was the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal.

O'Neal was there to promote his Aug. 18 reality series "Shaq Vs." in which he gets a handicap before taking on Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football; Wimbledon champ Serena Williams in tennis; Oscar De La Hoya in boxing, St. Louis star Albert Pujols in baseball; Olympic champs Misty May-Treanor and Keri Walsh in volleyball; and Olympic star Michael Phelps in swimming.

For instance, he might have to swim one lap in a race while Phelps has to swim two laps.

Naturally, I looked for Shaq at the party, which was attended by such ABC stars as Courteney Cox and Dana Delany.

Amazingly, I couldn't immediately find him. Then someone advised me to look up for the tallest person in the room. In five seconds, I found him in the corner of the ballroom where the party was held.

Eventually, I got to ask him a few questions, including whether he was a NFL fan. "I'm a T.O. fan," said Shaq of the Buffalo Bills wide receiver Terrell Owens. "Because I know him, he's a phenomenal athlete. I feel like if he knew how to be promotional and market things like me, he'd be better for it. However, he doesn't really care. He just wants to win, he works really hard."

Well, actually T.O. seems to care this summer. He's got his own reality show, which ONeal said he hasn't seen. And Owens also was in ABC's "Superstars."

Asked how he thinks Owens will do in Buffalo this season, O'Neal came up with one of his quotable  expressions. "If you feed a wild dog, he won't bark. If you feed him and keep him happy, he won't say nothing. If you allow him running around and they're not throwing him the ball and they start losing, he'll go, 'hey, I'm here, I'm the greatest wide receiver, why don't you throw (me) the ball?'"

Of course, Shaq and Owens have something in common this year. They are aging stars -- O'Neal is 37, Owens 35 -- who have moved to Rust Belt teams. O'Neal is now a Cleveland Cavalier.

Will you watch Shaq's show? And what do you think of his take on T.O.?

-- Alan Pergament

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