The New Shaq Attack: A Media Blitz
Shaquille O'Neal, marketing genius.
Say you're a 37-year-old NBA star in the waning days of your basketball career. Do you gracefully fade into the background with your millions?
No way! Instead, you pull a brilliant publicity stunt by not getting into the White House. You get (what else?) a reality show next month, "Shaq Vs.," going one-on-one with athletes like Michael Phelps, Ben Roethlisberger and Serena Williams in their respective sports. You serve as "special guest enforcer" on WWE Raw wrestling Monday at Verizon Center.
"I like to do things that other people can't do," he told us before the show. Which makes Shaq one of the most interesting athletes out there. Aside from his day job with the Cleveland Cavaliers, there was his law-enforcement infatuation, earning him a badge as a reserve officer in Miami Beach, and his dabbling in Florida real estate. Now: pro wrestling.
Backstage, Shaq (brown shirt and pants, size 15 diamond wedding ring) claimed he was a big fan of the excessively buffed and bronzed stars on the pro circuit: "I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of guys. I also consider them to be great athletes. You know, they respect me, I respect them." And he demonstrated his favorite closing move ("the Claw") on our colleague Dan Steinberg: "You grab somebody in the head and make them cry. Want me to show you?" (Note: Shaq spread his massive hand on Steinberg's skull but did not make him cry.) "I'll probably get locked up, you guys would probably write a bad article about me, TMZ will be looking for me."
Serving as celebrity host of the live broadcast, Shaq received wild cheers from the sellout crowd (including Redskins Jason Campbell, Mike Sellers, Rocky McIntosh and Stephon Heyer), plugged his reality show and traded smack talk with WWE's Chris Jericho, whom he challenged to a match "right here, right now." When Jericho backed down, Shaq smirked to the crowd, "D.C., I knew these girls would not fight me tonight." At the end -- surprise, surprise -- he climbed into the ring and went after 7-foot Big Show. Guess who won?
Clearly, a crossover star in the making. The only big boos of the night? They came when George W. Bush appeared in a recorded video about WWE's support of the military. Wonder if he can get into the White House unannounced these days?
In The 'Real World,' You Still Need a Job
Finally, MTV's cameras have footage of something other than bar-hopping: The "Real World" kids are getting jobs!
While recent casts of the landmark reality series were mostly propped up in contrived group projects, the D.C. crew -- now in its fourth week of filming -- appears to be branching out into more-or-less "real" pursuits, with some cast members applying for entry-level gigs with local nonprofits.
And now, one has been spotted actually working: a young woman named Callie, who on Sunday night shot photos at Halo nightclub on assignment for the Washington Blade, where she's interning.
Patrons at the popular Logan Circle gay bar were amused by the scene -- pretty blonde with a camera roaming the room while cameras followed her. (Bonus synergy points: The night's party was hosted by JD Ordonez . . . who's famous for starring on "The Real World: Brooklyn.")
This Just In
L.A. police and DEA officials descended Tuesday on the Las Vegas home office of Conrad Murray, the personal physician who was with Michael Jackson the day he died, the Associated Press reports. It was the second search of Murray's property in recent days: Last week, authorities raided his Houston clinic and storage space, seeking evidence that might back a manslaughter charge, according to court records. Murray's lawyer told reporters earlier that the doctor "didn't prescribe or administer anything that should have killed Michael Jackson," though he declined to comment on the latest search. Police told AP that Murray is cooperating with the investigation.
"I'm an artist; I'm not going to use trigonometry."
-- "Gossip Girl" star Taylor Momsen, 16, on why she was bored by high school and has no serious plans for college, in the new issue of Teen Vogue. The Potomac native and Herbert Hoover Middle School alum also divulges that she prefers older guys: "I would eat a boy my age alive."