Former NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley have found themselves under fire for their behavior during a recent episode of TNT’s Inside the NBA. The two were discussing player injuries during the segment when they began to laugh uncontrollably, causing the entire conversation to derail.
The incident occurred earlier this week when the topic of Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant’s injury was brought up. The hosts were discussing the severity of the injury when Shaq and Barkley began to chuckle. The laughter intensified, and the pair continued to joke around, seemingly making light of the situation.
The reaction from fans and viewers was swift, with many taking to social media to criticize the two former players. Some viewers saw their behavior as insensitive and disrespectful, especially given Durant’s injury history.
“Shaq and Barkley laughing about KD’s injury report is gross. Can’t expect much from them but come on man,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another added, “This was in really poor taste. Kevin Durant’s injury history is no joke, and to see Shaq and Barkley laughing about it on national TV is disgraceful.”
The criticism also extended to the NBA community, with several current and former players speaking out against the behavior.
Former NBA player Kendrick Perkins tweeted, “I didn’t find anything funny about Chuck & Shaq mocking Kevin Durant Injury… it was distasteful & disgusting! Grow up.”
Even ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith weighed in on the matter, saying, “I’m not casting any dispersions, but if you were to ask me, I’ve seen better behavior from goats.”
In response to the backlash, both Shaq and Barkley issued apologies on Twitter.
“I apologize for my inappropriate comments towards Kevin Durant and his injury. They were wrong and not a reflection of how I feel,” Shaq wrote.
Barkley tweeted, “My comments were inappropriate and unacceptable. They were in poor taste and do not reflect my true feelings nor me as a person.”
It remains to be seen if the fallout from this incident will affect the hosts’ future appearances on Inside the NBA, but the backlash serves as a reminder that even in the realm of sports entertainment, there are lines that should not be crossed.