Shaq issues a one-on-one challenge— in spelling

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal wants to add another championship title to his resume: spelling champion.

The NBA star created a buzz when he walked onstage and challenged last year’s winner, 14-year-old Kavya Shivashankar, to a spell-off for his “Shaq Vs.” reality show.

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GAME?ON—Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, right, asks 2009 Spelling Bee winner Kavya Shivashankar to give him a two-word margin of error in a proposed spelling match between them, at the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, June 4.

O’Neal made an impromptu appearance June 4 at the hotel where the bee was under way last week. He challenged Shivashan­kar onstage after the sixth round of semifinals. She accepted his challenge, even allowing him two misspelled words, warning him she beat Jimmy Kimmel in a similar challenge last year.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked O’Neal, the tallest person in the ballroom. “I did win the national spelling bee last year.”

“Keep in mind I have my bachelor’s and master’s, and I’m ready to go,” he said.

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