One of the reasons that so many basketball fans enjoy the NBA on TNT's coverage is because it's often raw and real. It's just a cast of characters sitting down at a desk and discussing the game in a casual (yet entertaining) fashion. It's like how you and your friends would discuss the game ... if your friends were former NBA Stars.
But that sort of coverage opens the door for things to get a bit too real, which is where we found ourselves on Tuesday night.
While discussing the Raptors' disappointing playoff run and head coach Dwane Casey's relationship with DeMar DeRozan, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley got into a heated back-and-forth about whether Casey needs to extend an olive branch to DeRozan. Chuck believed it was necessary, and Shaq vehemently disagreed, saying players need to stop being babied.
As they volleyed across the desk, things increasingly got more tense and personal.
Barkley to Shaq: I didn’t have Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant carry me up and down the court... 😳pic.twitter.com/icIMVPdbdf— Dime on UPROXX (@DimeUPROXX) May 9, 2018
Shaq delivered the first dagger at Barkley, who failed to capture an NBA title over his 16-year career.
"You don't know what you're talking about when it comes to championships," O'Neal quipped. "You got got babied, and that's why you didn't win."
With personal jabs officially on the table, Barkley responded with one of his own towards Shaq.
"I didn't have Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant carry me up and down the court," he replied.
However, that wasn't the most effective retort from Barkley, as Shaq was quick to point out that he was named NBA Finals MVP in three of his four championship runs. That's not exactly being carried.
Eventually, Kenny "The Jet" Smith had enough of the bickering between his two co-hosts and decided to jump in to steer the conversation in a different direction, and at that point it was probably a good decision. Like a fight between friends, that exchange was quite uncomfortable to watch, yet intensely riveting at the same time.
But, in the end, stuff like this is exactly what makes the NBA on TNT so great. Whether it's goofy and silly or heated and tense, it's real and it's driven by personality and character.