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"My daddy used to tell me all the time, ‘You got to rebound like Barkley and get some elbows up" — Shaquille O'Neal on why Charles Barkley is perfect for NBA on TNT

As NBA on TNT stars, Shaq knows what Barkley brings to the table.
NBA legends Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley

Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley

The NBA on TNT crew has been delighting hoops fans for years, and from the looks of it, it seems that Ernie Johnson Jr., Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal have no plans of changing one bit. Collectively, the powerhouse cast perfected the mix of humor, controversy, and depth, but on the other hand, each one of them brings something special to the table.

A perfect match

For those who don’t know, Smith was the first to hop in on the show, and Barkley followed suit in 2000. It didn’t take long for Chuck to gain popularity on national TV for obvious reasons – his bold and blunt takes on the juiciest subjects of discussion in the NBA. Everything was good, but the production knew it could be better. And without a doubt, there was no better way to kick things up but to add Shaq in there.

So, in 2011, “Diesel” made his debut on NBA on TNT’s Inside the NBA with a grand entrance. O’Neal was expected to bring in some extra punch to the already solid crew. But little did everyone know Shaq and Chuck were a perfect match.

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Shaq acknowledges Chuck’s contribution

For a long time, Barkley was the biggest character on the squad. But when Shaq broke into the scene, Chuck found himself a counterpart who had the guts to equal his wit and grit.

Knowing Barkley, he never backed down, and O’Neal gave him the props for it. However, Shaq really knows how to put Chuck in his place whenever they engage in regular hilarious arguments.

When it comes to certain settings, I want to know how you know something, period. If you don’t know, then you shouldn’t be speaking on it so adamantly,” O’Neal said via The Washington Post. “You can give your opinion, but how do you know? I know because I’ve been to the Finals six times. Kenny knows because he’s been there twice and won twice. It’s just like a question thing. I want to know. I’m interested when both those guys speak, but with Charles, I’m like, ‘How do you know?’

Yes. Not winning the chip may have always been the chink in Barkley’s armor. But on the other hand, O’Neal also knows why Chuck, after all, is still the best guy for the job.

But here’s the thing: He showed us kids how to play mean, throw elbows and play with reckless abandonment. My daddy used to tell me all the time, ‘You got to rebound like Barkley and get some elbows up.’ So he’s definitely meant a lot to me,” O’Neal added.

Long live NBA on TNT!

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