NBA star to spell against 14-year-old

Updated: June 4, 2010, 5:09 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Basketball great Shaquille O'Neal will try to add another championship title to his resume: spelling champion.

The hoops star challenged last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, 14-year-old Kavya Shivashankar, to a spell-off on Friday.

O'Neal made an impromptu appearance at the hotel where the bee is under way this 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.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press