Shaq vs. Joel: An Essay-Writing Smackdown

I challenged the NBA giant to an essay contest — and learned an important life lesson. Shaq's that good!

Illustration by John Ueland; O'Neal: Barry Gossage / Getty

Shaquille O'Neal can do anything, as long as that thing is telling people he can do anything. On ABC's Shaq Vs., he challenges Super Bowl champ Ben Roethlisberger to a football game; baseball's home-run leader, Albert Pujols, to a batting contest; and gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh to beach volleyball. He insists he's the greatest athlete in the world, even though the only thing he beats them at is trash-talking. O'Neal plays sports the way George W. Bush fights wars.

But as a writer, O'Neal is actually beating us pros. He is the 10th most popular writer...