If you haven't skipped past it on Tivo, you've most likely caught Shaquille O'Neal and Apolo Anton Ohno starring along with Eli Manning and Venus Williams in a series of Oreo commercials about the Double Stuf Racing League. They appear to look like a band of action heroes that slight resemble the A-Team. Instead of fighting crime, their super power is the ability to quickly twist, lick and dunk Oreos.
The athletes have played along with the evolving storylines with humor. O'Neal and Ohno recently hosted "lick race rallies" for fans in honor of a new commercial that will air on Jan. 23 during the NFC Championship Game, featuring Green Bay Packers versus Chicago Bears. The spot features a new "evil" hooded-menace character that will be unmasked. Page 2 talked to each of the sports stars about the commercials.
What's the most Oreos you've eaten in one day?
O'Neal: Probably two packs. You can sit down and watch a game, get some cold milk and Oreos and just eat them, eat them, eat them. I felt pretty good.
Ohno: You have to realize that Shaq is like six human beings. He could probably hold one sleeve of Oreos on one hand. That's like one finger length. For me as an athlete, I try to keep it pretty balanced in terms of my training and when I want a snack and when I want a treat. It's just like anything in life. You've got to have a good balance.
What is the deal with this new, hooded-menace character?
O'Neal: He's trying to take over the league. I don't know what his problem is, but we're going to beat him. We're going to shut him down Sunday. I wish I knew who the hooded menace was.
How did you practice Oreo licking competition?
O'Neal: You have to twist it, and the side that has the stuffing on it you have to lick. Just keep licking. And then you have to dunk it in the milk. The tradition will bring families, friends, parties closer together. Me and my girlfriend, we twist, lick and dunk all the time. Every night.
What is it like on set of a commercial with all four of you?
Ohno: Shaq is always cracking me up. The man is so incredibly big, but he's a little kid on the inside.
O'Neal: You get to interact and see how other legends act. You know, Eli is very serious. Venus is very serious. Apolo and myself we are very, very silly. We just say that if you put your mind to it, you can become a champion. Eli and Venus are a little bit more focused than Apolo and myself.
How are you and Apolo silly?
O'Neal: We like to have fun and talk about cars and talk about parties.
Ohno: If you're going to do something together with a super star group of athletes, nobody wants to be too serious. Shaq has a lot of the height advantages, and I make sure that the air down low is good, too.