TNT's new iteration of "Inside the NBA" is still a work in progress, with Shaquille O'Neal proving to be an uneasy fit with the lived-in chemistry of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith (plus Chris Webber when he drops by). That said, the show's at its best these days, or at least most fascinating, when Shaq and Barkley subtly undermine each other and act as antagonists. It adds drama that was previously just a place for people who like basketball to hang out. "Inside the NBA" is different, but it can still be valuable.
The show's producers seem to have realized they have something when these two bicker, and they've increasingly set them against each other in planned segments. But there are limits to the amount of antagonism an audience can handle.
Put simply, no one wants to see something gross. And so, it is my solemn duty to chastise TNT for the video available for your viewing "pleasure" above. On Monday night, the TNT crew honored Mr. Barkley's 49th birthday by pampering him in the studio. For some reason, that involved Shaq helping to give Barkley a pedicure. At one point, he smelled his feet up close on purpose.
At BDL, we believe that men should be able to do whatever they want with each other, even if that includes things that many people would look at as effeminate. But there is no reason for Shaquille O'Neal to smell Charles Barkley's foot. Unless he's a masochist, in which case we'll all have to look at his entire career differently.
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- Charles Barkley