Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley continue to be the most entertaining frenemies on sports TV.
After the Suns topped the Warriors on Tuesday and earned their 17th-straight victory, Phoenix’s Chris Paul joined TNT’s “Inside the NBA” to dissect the win.
As show star Ernie Johnson wrapped his post-game interview with the Suns point guard, Barkley interrupted his co-host to say, “Hey Chris, I just wanna tell you there’s many nights in here that we don’t want to hear Kenny [Smith] either.”
O’Neal then stepped in to defend Johnson.
“Charles, interrupt Ernie again,” O’Neal said. “Interrupt Ernie one more time and I’m gonna punch you right in the stomach.”
Ever the diplomat, Johnson laughed that Barkley’s interruption was “quite alright.”
Barkley had made the joke about Kenny Smith to Paul because the point guard hadn’t heard Smith’s question earlier in the interview and had asked him to repeat it.
“Inside the NBA” — especially as it relates to O’Neal and Barkley — straddles the line between tension and familial love in a way that few, if any, other studio television programs are able to accomplish.