One of the great things about NBA basketball is that it brings out the phenomenal personalities of so many athletes. Players like Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and so many more have managed to shine in the spotlight in their own way.
Even non-superstars have managed to let their eccentricities bring an added element to the game, like Nick Young and Metta World Peace. Now we are seeing many athletes develop careers in broadcasting after their playing days are over, largely because they built a brand for themselves over the years, like the outspoken Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.
Los Angeles Lakers fans can attest to how enthralling O’Neal’s larger-than-life personality can be, and Barkley has long been known for his own particular brand of verbal sparring. It’s no surprise that the two often find themselves at odds while on the set of TNT’s “Inside the NBA”, and it usually leads to some hilarious moments, though sometimes things get a little contentious.
Barkley recently appeared on “The Rich Eisen Show” to discuss his quasi-feud with Shaq, which recently escalated when Barkley made a comment about O’Neal riding on the coattails of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade:
“He got thinner skin than Flat Stanley. I like messing with him, and I can just see the veins in his forehead every time I rile him up….and I’m just over their dying laughing and he’s getting so mad. I’m gonna keep digging at him because I love to see him sweat….he keeps it going because he’s still thinking about it, I haven’t thought about it since I walked off the set that night.”
Barkley and O’Neal’s spat, which is certainly worth watching, seemed to cross the line from good-natured ribbing into a genuine argument. O’Neal said that Barkley wouldn’t know what it was like to be in the Cleveland Cavaliers position because Barkley had only been to the finals once, which prompted Barkley to fire back by naming teammates that had helped O’Neal win championships.
Co-hosts Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith were eventually able to get the conversation back on track, but the next war of words is always just around the corner, which makes for lively TV in the twilight of the NBA season.