HOUSTON, Texas –
On a recent episode of TNT’s Emmy Award-winning program “Inside The NBA,” legendary players-turned-commentators Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley exchange heated words during a discussion about a recent Blazers/Rockets game. O’Neal, who is always vocal in his critique of other players who can still walk without the aid of IcyHot, started off the argument by criticizing Dwight Howard, power forward for the Houston Rockets. Charles Barkley, one time power forward for the Rockets himself, responded by calling O’Neal “overrated,” continuing by saying that O’Neal would “have nothing if it wasn’t for Kobe Bryant.”
“Let me tell you something. I always thought you were overrated anyway. You were a flash in the pan! If it wasn’t for Kobe Bryant, you wouldn’t have anything!” yelled Barkley, seemingly seconds away from jumping across the desk towards O’Neal.
The cameras cut away shortly after the exchange as the program ended, but the words did not stop there. O’Neal picked up on the tirade, calling Barkley a “bald-headed has-been,” before remembering that he, too, was without hair and also just as irrelevant. Barkley retorted with several digs at O’Neal’s spotty career outside of basketball, including mocking the video games and movies based on “Shaq-Fu,” a lame marketing attempt to make kids think that Shaq was a badass in the late 90s, as well as O’Neal’s sad attempt at acting, playing a genie in the forgettable 1996 film KAZAAM.
“You know what, guy? I don’t care what you call me, because I got the respect. I got the rings, too…all you have is your bull**** Shaq-Fu and a f***** up costume left over from your stupid genie movie. You’re a distant memory of what never was!”
Stopping just short of things coming to blows, producers and executives stepped in to remind both ex-players that they had terms in their contracts excluding either one from bringing up the other’s checkered off-court history. Instead, they suggested that both men agree to a one-off game of HORSE at a local elementary school, with the winner being named “King of the Playground” and also getting their name first in the opening credits of “Inside the NBA.”
O’Neal and Barkley agreed to the terms; as of this writing contracts were being reviewed by lawyers for both men. The HORSE game is scheduled to take place later in the month, and it will be televised live by TNT and sister station TBS on most cable networks. Date and time will be announced within the week.