Charles Barkley’s Painful Regret Delights Shaquille O’Neal, Admits Rooting Against TNT Co-Host

Charles Barkley’s Painful Regret Delights Shaquille O’Neal, Admits Rooting Against TNT Co-Host

Charles Barkley came to Phoenix with the hope of winning a ring, made it to the Finals in 1993, and lost to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Three decades later, his former rival-turned-friend is snickering over that. Now Shaquille O’Neal sits at the other end of the TNT desk and constantly reminds Chuck he has four more rings than him. Sir Charles remains one of the greatest players without a ring. Though that remains his biggest regret, Shaq loves it. And he credits John Paxson for that.

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While Chuck enjoyed a Shaq-less day at TNT, O’Neal was on JJ Redick’s podcast, The Old Man and the Three. He took some sinister pleasure in commenting, “If [John] Paxson doesn’t hit that shot, Michael Jordan doesn’t have six rings, and Charles Barkley has one. I’m glad Paxson hit that shot. I would hate to see Charles with a ring. You couldn’t tell him nothing.” He burst out laughing right after taking that shot at Chuck.

Leave it to O’Neal to tease his frenemy when he’s talking about the role players who were instrumental in winning championships. John Paxson’s name was secured in NBA history books in Game 6 of the 1993 Finals. The Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan were leading 3-2 in the series. The Phoenix Suns were close to tying the series on the back of Charles Barkley. In this game, the Suns had a narrow lead of 98-96. If that stayed till the buzzer, the series would have extended to Game 7 in Phoenix.

Instead, Scottie Pippen aborted the drive to the basket in the face of Phoenix’s guards and passed the ball to John Paxson. With 3.9 seconds on the clock, Paxson hit a 3-pointer, turned the Bulls’ deficit into a 99-98 lead, and won their third consecutive title.

Somewhere in Orlando, then Magic youngster Shaq was probably watching with plans to rub Chuck’s nose three decades later. While Paxson made Shaq’s point about role-players making history, the 1993 defeat to his then-best friend Jordan remains a sore subject for Barkley.

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