Shaq and Charles Barkley don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to basketball analysis, or any number of unrelated topics. It’s part of what makes Inside the NBA such compelling television. The pair have a long history together, and watching them bicker and hurl idle threats at one another is par for the course on any given segment.
But there was a time when their feud was significantly less friendly. During the late 90s, Shaq and Chuck were bitter on-court rivals, and things finally came to a head during a Rockets-Lakers game in 1999 when Chuck threw the ball off Shaq’s head and set off a huge scuffle between two of the NBA biggest — literally and figuratively — personalities.
Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. But it took intervention from the family matriarchs to make sure there wasn’t any lingering resentment between the two, as Shaq explained during a recent appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. (Transcript via People.com)
O’Neal, who said that the fight with Barkley, 57, “wasn’t real,” returned to the locker room after the tussle and received an unexpected phone call.
“So on two-way was my mom and Charles Barkley’s mom,” he said, adding that Glenn, who died in 2015 at age 73, “was a lovely, beautiful woman.”
“And I was like, ‘Hello?’ and she’s like, ‘This is Charles’ mom and your mom’s on the phone too.’ ” O’Neal recalled. “I was like, ‘Yes ma’am, how are you?’ She said, ‘Y’all need to stop. I already talked to Charles. He’s gonna meet you in the hallway. Y’all need to stop and hug. Y’all are two of the greatest players in the world, we don’t want y’all fighting in front of the kids, y’all stop that.’ “
And this isn’t the first time Shaq’s mom has had to intervene to stop a feud that was getting out of hand. Shaq has had many targets in his Shaqtin-a-Fool segment over the years, but none so frequent as one JaVale McGee, who became a fixture on the show for years. However, as their tiff got increasingly nasty on social media, Shaq’s mother once again stepped in and demanded that her son leave JaVale alone. There’s mounting evidence that she’s only one who could ever even dream of containing Shaq.