Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley are one of the most popular duos on television. Hosts of ‘Inside the NBA’ on TNT, the NBA Hall of Famers have developed a great camaraderie on one of the NBA’s premier pre- and postgame shows.
Yet Barkley almost ended his basketball commentating foray to get into the world of golf.
Rumors swirled for a few weeks about Barkley’s interest in joining LIV Golf as another commentator on its broadcasts, which do not have a TV sponsor and air on YouTube. Last week at the third LIV Golf event at Trump Bedminster in New Jersey, Barkley played in the pro-am, and he told Golfweek he hadn’t received an offer by the time he finished playing.
David Feherty announced following the 150th Open Championship that he was joining LIV Golf as a broadcaster, and Barkley would’ve added another colorful, bombastic voice to the broadcast. Yet it would take away from what has become a great pair between O’Neal and Barkley.
So, did Shaq try and talk Sir Charles out of it?
“No. Charles is a dear friend. I would’ve supported him every which way,” O’Neal said in an interview with USA Today. “Charles is one of those legends, like Bill Russell, that didn’t make a lot of money playing. So if a chance comes up like this at this age that’s legal – controversial but legal – you gotta look at it. If he had accepted it, I wouldn’t be mad.
“And if Charles had left? You’d still have me.”