After the Golden State Warriors’ series-ending 113-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, former Sixers great Charles Barkley found himself in a shouting match with fellow Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal during a heated segment on TNT’s Inside the NBA.
The early Wednesday incident started with Barkley opining about Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey needing to “repair his relationship” with DeMar DeRozan, who was benched during Game 3 of the team’s Eastern Conference semifinal matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite reports that Casey will be named the NBA coach of the year, many say his deteriorating relationship with the star guard contributed to the Raptors being swept in four games by the Cavaliers.
“You don’t disrespect your best player,” Barkley said. “If you don’t have a great relationship with your best player, you’re never going to win.”
Let’s just say O’Neal didn’t quite agree with Barkley’s take.
“Me and Pat Riley never saw eye to eye in Miami and look what happened? So it’s not true what you’re saying,” O’Neal shot back. He said Barkley didn’t know what he’s talking about in terms of championships.
“I didn’t have Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant carrying me up and down the court,” Barkley retorted.
“I got three Finals MVPs, Chuck! Google me, Chuck!” O’Neal responded as he pointed to the giant championship ring on his hand.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 9, 2018
Of course, this isn’t the first time Barkley has been caught in a heated back-and-fourth during this season’s NBA playoffs.
Last week, an angry Barkley proclaimed, “I just want to see somebody punch him in the face,” as a shot of Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green flashed across the screen. Reporters asked Green about the remark after Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Pelicans.
“I heard what he said. A lot of guys talk on TV, stand behind a microphone and a TV screen,” Green said. “The fact of the matter is if you feel that strongly about something, he’s seen me a million times. If you feel that strongly about it, then punch me in my face when you see me.”
Barkley appeared to not take the issue seriously during the subsequent broadcast of Inside the NBA, mockingly throwing air punches on set. But the former Sixers great ultimately apologized to Green, calling his comments “inappropriate.”
“I would never punch an NBA player. I meant what I said … but I would never punch an NBA player,” Barkley said. He later added: “But what I said was wrong and I apologize.”
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) May 3, 2018
At least two of Green’s teammates weren’t impressed with the apology Barkley offered.
“When I was growing up, and I said something where I was in the wrong, my mom wanted me to apologize. If I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I still meant it,’ I would’ve gotten slapped in the face,” two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry said, according to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. “When it comes to people with microphones, you can’t take that stuff too seriously.”
“He said what he said,” Kevin Durant said last week. “I don’t know why he’s so angry all the time at the new generation of basketball. But I guess that’s what it is.”
TNT is broadcasting the Western Conference Finals between the Warriors and the Houston Rockets, which start Monday (ESPN will broadcast the Eastern Conference finals).