Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are well-known names to any NBA fan. They have been superstar figures in the basketball universe. O’Neal is regarded as one of the greatest centers of all time. Charles Barkley, on the other hand, is known for his strength and aggressive game. Infact, he is regarded as one of the most dominant rebounders in NBA history. However, both the superstars became TV analysts after retiring from the game.
But they have also been known for sparing with each other on the television. We have also seen them hurling insults at each other. The problem between these two all-time greats became so intense that their mothers had to intervene.
Though these fights between the two help to raise the TRP of TNT’s coverage, this is not what we expect from two of the greatest basketball stars of all time. Their sound knowledge of the game has made them analysts. But these personal arguments and fights take the light away from any actual analysis of the games. A similar “petty” fight occurred between O’Neal and Barkley on Wednesday night. Read the article to discover more about the incident.
The O’Neal Versus Barkley Feud
The root of the feud may be traced to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, between Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. During the game, Jimmy Butler became instrumental in leading the Heat to victory. With 41 points to his name, Butler led the Miami Heat to a 118-107 victory over the Celtics. However, Butler not only inspired his teammates but also inspired a heated debate on TNT.
Infact Butler’s performance in Game 1, became the topic of discussion on Wednesday’s edition of Inside the NBA. During the episode, Ernie Johnson what Boston can take from Game 1 of the Finals. To this question, Kenny Smith said that the Celtics have nothing to take from the game as they will have to play without Smart and Horford. Charles Barkley agreed to this, adding that if Smart played the game, Butler would not have been able to score 41 points. This assumption seems logical as Smart is the leading defensive player.
However, Shaquille O’Neal took issue with Charles Barkley’s statement. O’Neal argued that Butler is such a player, who can score whenever he wants to. He added that Butler is now at that level of performance that the presence of Smart will not affect his scoring. To this, Barkley retaliated by saying that he was not doubting Butler’s talent. He justified his statement by saying that he was only trying to say that with Smart on the court, scoring becomes difficult.
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O’Neal argued animatedly that Smart is never an issue. He sighted his own performance against Dikembe Mutombo and argued that Butler can score at his will. Charles Barkley retaliated further by reminding O’Neal that the discussion was not about him. Check out the link below to see the debate:
TNT Crew’s Biggest Weaknesses Exposed
There can be two perspectives on the feud between Charles Barkley and O’Neal. From one perspective, the feud is what makes Inside the NBA so special to the audience. ESPN or ABC will not provide you with that much entertainment. We know Stephen A. Smith for his rants. But he too keeps himself under control. Thus, the feud on Inside the NBA makes it stand out amongst all other shows.
But “fun” cannot be the ultimate product of a sports show. Inside the NBA is part of the basketball coverage on one of the league’s official broadcast partners. From this point of view, the crew including O’Neal and Barkley has an obligation to help the game grow. A fight never helps in that. It rather takes the show into the sphere of mere entertainment.
It is really difficult to design a perfect studio show. This is because, while some will look for entertainment, others will be looking for information. However, the Wednesday episode of Inside the NBA clearly highlighted the shortcoming of the show. A seemingly normal comment resulted in a long argument, full of personal abuses, baseless claims, and verbal barbs.
From this argument, one can learn nothing other than the fact that more than 20 years ago, O’Neal outplayed Mutombo. The segment of the show was far from entertaining. It was more like two men quarreling with each other.
Entertainment is indeed necessary. But entertainment must not interfere with the gravity of a show. Inside the NBA is a sports analysis show where experts are expected to share their views on the games. But the feud on Wednesday’s episode showed that the show has drifted away from its true purpose. Maybe, it is high time someone reminds the analysts what their real job was.
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