Shaq issues one-on-one challenge _ in spelling, not hoops _ to last year's bee champion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Basketball great and reality TV star Shaquille O'Neal tried to add another championship title to his resume: spelling champion.

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

Reporters weren't allowed to watch. The showdown was taped for O'Neal's "Shaq Vs." reality show.

Beforehand, O'Neal and Kavya exchanged some scripted trash talk. She said she would accept his challenge, warning him she beat Jimmy Kimmel in a similar challenge last year.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked O'Neal. "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.