On a recent appearance on the “All The Smoke,” podcast “NBA On TNT” personality Kenny Smith talked about how he and “Chuck” always give Shaq the blues for making mistakes on set.
Smith recalled one particular incident that set the tone and raised the bar for Shaq as a responsible media personality.
“So Shaq comes on the show,” said Smith. “He said something like, ‘DeAndre Jordan needs to,’ and DeAndre is not playing tonight. So me and Charles, because we sit next to each other, he’s hitting me and I’m hitting him. We gonna get his ass today. So we’re just lighting into him. Oh, you don’t know this, so now we’re saying stuff about the game because we know he didn’t watch.”
“The Jet” as he’s affectionately known continued:
“So then our producer comes downstairs and he’s like, ‘What the f*** is going on? Y’all giving him a hard time, you embarrassing him on our national TV.’ I’m like, ‘Whoa, since when don’t we make fun of each other when you don’t know the s**t?’ Then the producer goes like, ‘You’re right. Go get him. From that day on, he turned. He’s like, ‘I gotta be on point.’”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 21, 2021
Shaq And Barkley Get Into It Routinely
While the entire cast gets into the nightly ribbing, Shaq and Barkley have almost come to blows on a few occasions. Who can forget their on court fight back in 1999. Or the time things got so heated that the pair’s moms had to intervene. Just so happens their mothers are good friends.
A lot of their back-and-forth tends to stem from Shaq always taunting Barkley for not winning an NBA championship, while he has four. Barkley always responds that O’Neal rode the coattails of the late, great Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade to win his titles.
Barkley is always saying he never had the help. Barkley even rattles Kenny’s cage at times, saying the former standout guard rode NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon to get his two NBA titles. The two alpha males seem to look for every opportunity to be at each other’s throat.
Sometimes Ernie Johnson Has To Intervene
As the show’s lead host, Johnson is always tasked with getting things under control when they are off kilter. Trying to do that with Shaq and Barkley isn’t easy. As for Kenny, he makes his point and moves along. But not the other two. They can go back and forth for segments if EJ doesn’t step in.
During a recent appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Johnson talked about Barkley and Shaq’s relationship. How much of what we see is for the show and what part is totally genuine?
“They’re actually great friends,” EJ said. “They guys love each other. Sure it gets heated sometimes, and when you’re trying to decide or defend your point, yeah, it gets a little heated. But I’ve never thought, uh-oh, this outta control.”
While the two respect one another, both have strong personalities, huge egos and are very opinionated. It’s a combustible but entertaining formula that usually leads to spirited debates and all-out arguments that captivate NBA America.
But in the end, the two are the true catalysts for the show and their interaction is what many viewers check in to see. Shaq and Barkley’s spirited interaction remind many of us of when we sat at the dinner table squabbling with our brothers and sisters and it usually results in a win-win for TNT and the NBA community.