Shaq Nearly Walked Off The ‘Inside The NBA’ Set After Charles Barkley Called James Harden The Best 1-On-1 Player Ever

The Inside the NBA guys don’t always disagree with one another. This is part of what has made it such a successful show over the years — not only are there heated discussions by the various members of the show, but it never seems like it is forced, which can happen really easily in the embrace debate-era of sports punditry.

Our latest example of this came on Sunday night at halftime of the game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics. After watching Nets guard James Harden score 17 first-half points as part of a 73-point half for Brooklyn, Charles Barkley heaped praise on Harden, calling him “the best 1-on-1 player I may have ever seen.” Shaquille O’Neal very much did not like this, to the point that he dang near walked off the set entirely.

Now, Barkley made sure to say he does not think Harden is a better basketball player than Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, but that did not seem to deter Shaq. The thing that helps Barkley’s case is that he based it in the variety of ways Harden can score — shooting threes, getting to the rim — and praised him for his knowledge of how games are called, both of which are extremely fair points.

Still, Shaq did not enjoy this, and Kenny Smith almost joined him in leaving the set altogether. But Ernie Johnson told both of them that they only had one more segment left, so cooler heads eventually prevailed.