Shaquille O’Neal found one way to conquer his fear of sharks: He offered himself up as food.
In Sunday’s “Shaq Does Shark Week,” the first night of that annual summerfest known as, duh, Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, the basketball icon, Hall of Famer and TNT analyst had to be pulled from the water when a small shark with eyes bigger than its stomach invaded the 12-foot-by-6-foot cage in which O’Neal was submerged.
“There’s a shark getting in the cage! There’s a shark in the cage! We’ve got to get him out,” a diver calls out after comedian Rob Riggle draws a hungry crowd by firing his “chum gun” into the water. Divers distracted the shark (go ahead and say it: sharktin’ a fool), and the crew helped Shaq make an exit.
Afterward, O’Neal was talking a little trash: “I survived a shark attack, you b——!”
Will Packer, an executive producer, told the New York Post that a shark has never breached a cage in the 30-year history of the show. “The space between the bars was different than normal, and the shark was able to wiggle into the cage,” Packer said. “Shaq hasn’t moved that fast since he was in the NBA.”
Shaq had warmed up for the event by training with Riggle in a pool filled with sharks in the Bahamas. “I was terrified,” he said, “but you’ve got to face your fears, so I’m good.”
Never mind that he was holding Riggle’s hand at one point. “They’re tryin’ to kill me,” he exclaimed, only to be reassured by one of the crew, “You’re the biggest thing down there.”
Wait until Charles Barkley hears about this.
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