Anyone who has been clamoring to hear Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal trade jabs and comments about the NBA will soon have their wildest dreams granted.
Fresh off a retirement that concluded an unquestioned Hall of Fame career, Shaq has signed an agreement to join the Turner Sports team, including the studio show Inside the NBA. Shaq will fill the fourth chair alongside Barkley, Kenny Smith, and host Ernie Johnson, as well as provide content for NBA.com and occasionally show up on NBA TV.
Placing O'Neal, who's known for occasional verbal outbursts as an interview subject, alongside Barkley, who's never stopped his outbursts as an analyst, could lead to fantastic TV, some of the most entertaining sports coverage ever taped. It could also lead to a flaming trainwreck playing out in the nation's living rooms.
First off, let's remember that Chuck and Shaq once faced off in a memorable fight. All is forgiven now, but wait until someone gets the bright idea to have a re-enactment. A ball comes flying in from offcamera, clocks Shaq in the head, and it's on.
Eh, for that matter, that might be pretty entertaining, and the two of them would almost certainly play it for laughs now.
Okay, what about criticizing former colleagues? Well, Shaq has had his fun with comments about the likes of Greg Ostertag, or at least a Karl Malone dummy in Shaq's hands did ("Glad I'm playin' with a center, that Greg Ostertag was a bum."). And there was also his contentious relationship with the Sacramento "Queens."
So many rookie analysts, however, have difficulties criticizing former teammates. Well, maybe Shaq's already got that problem licked. (Okay, unfortunate choice of words. Right, Kobe?)
You know what? Never mind. It's time to get that new NBA labor deal done, so we can be assured of seeing Shaq and Chuck suited up for Opening Night as soon as possible.
David Stern, free The Big Analytical now.
--Scott Henry (Twitter: @4QuartersRadio)