Last night on TNT, NBA Playoff viewers were treated to entertaining analysis and banter from the “Inside The NBA” crew of Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.
During halftime of the Houston Rockets/Minnesota Timberwolves’ game, Barkley had folks on twitter in comedic stitches when he said that football players are ‘as dumb as a rock.’
Chuck later clarified that he was referring to NFL offensive linemen. That comment had NFL players ready to throw some bows at the Chuckster; all in good fun of course!
Dumb as rocks Chuck?!! Really?! How about u question the coaching? Players are an extension of the coaching staff…there’s the head coach and all those “assistant coaches” dressed nicely sitting on the bench watching the game. @NBAonTNT
— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) April 16, 2018
But hey, before you football guys come charging at Sir Charles, he’s been in a fight or two during his career.
Hey, did you know that Barkley and Shaq once got into a fight during a nationally televised game on TBS?
The date was November 10, 1999 at Houston’s Compaq Center.
Shaq’s Los Angeles Lakers were up 30-26 on Chuck’s Houston Rockets.
During a play, Shaq bumped Chuck on the head. Barkley swung an elbow or two in retaliation, with Shaq pushing him back.
And then it happened: Barkley threw the basketball in Shaq’s face.
Shaq threw a punch in response and while swinging, both players tackled one another.
“I also didn’t think that was going to turn into a fight,” Charles Barkley told me on Scoop B Radio.
“But first of of all, it was an NBA fight, so we fought like girls and it didn’t last very long.”
Both players were ejected from the game. The Lakers won the game 89-88. Glen Rice led all Lakers players with 24 points and the Rockets’ Steve Francis had 24 points and 10 rebounds in the Houston loss.
“He was doing all that wild monkey [stuff], throwing [elbows], acting crazy,” O’Neal said back then.
“I think that was a tactic to get me out of the game, and it worked. I’ll probably have to be a little smarter next time, just wait to get him back later.”
Years later, Barkley says he had his pride to play for. “I wasn’t going to let him embarrass me in front of 18,000 people, so you have to fight at some point,” he told me.
“But I’m glad nobody got hurt because he’s a great friend and I enjoy working with him.”