Shaquille O'Neal Praises Charles Barkley: 'Size Isn't Everything'

Basketball Legends Share Insights on Game Influence.

by Nouman Rasool
Shaquille O'Neal Praises Charles Barkley: 'Size Isn't Everything'
© Paras Griffin/Getty Images for HBO

In the world of basketball, the name Shaquille O'Neal often brings to mind images of towering dominance and playful banter, particularly on the set of NBA on TNT. Among his frequent on-air jests, his exchanges with Charles Barkley, another NBA icon, stand out.

However, amidst their humorous back-and-forths, Shaq recently took a moment to acknowledge Barkley's exceptional skills and impact on the game during a feature celebrating the latter's inclusion in the NBA 75 Stories. Shaquille O'Neal, a name synonymous with NBA greatness, openly lauded Charles Barkley for his extraordinary ability to excel despite not fitting the traditional physical mold of NBA big men.

In a heartfelt tribute, O'Neal highlighted Barkley's unique combination of strength, grit, and unwavering confidence, which propelled him to the ranks of basketball's elite, even as an "undersized" player. "Charles Barkley.

The Round Mound of Rebound... You always hear 'Size doesn't matter.' For Charles Barkley, size truly did not matter," Shaq emphasized in the feature. He elaborated on how Barkley, standing at just 6'4", defied the norms of the NBA, where centers and power forwards typically tower at heights above 6'8".

Barkley's fearless approach, according to Shaq, allowed him to confront and overpower taller and stronger opponents with an unstoppable force.

Beyond his performance on the court, Shaquille O'Neal also admired Barkley's demeanor and approach to the game.

To Shaq, Barkley's intimidating presence and unyielding bravado were integral to his success and legacy in the NBA. "A player with that level of tenacity, speed, and force, combined with a mindset of sheer determination, was always going to be a formidable force," O'Neal added, praising Barkley's mental and physical toughness.

Shaq: Inspired by Barkley

Reflecting on his own career, Shaquille O'Neal acknowledged Barkley's influence on his playing style. Despite their difference in size, Shaq was inspired by Barkley's physicality and fearless approach to the game.

"He showed us how to play with a mean streak, to be aggressive and relentless. My father always told me, 'Rebound like Barkley, be tough.' Barkley certainly had a significant impact on my game," Shaq reminisced. This candid acknowledgment from Shaquille O'Neal serves as a testament to Charles Barkley's extraordinary career.

While Shaq may have surpassed Barkley in terms of championships and accolades, his respect and admiration for Barkley's achievements in the NBA remain evident. It's a moment of mutual recognition among legends, reminding us of the diverse talents that have shaped the history of basketball.

Shaquille Charles Barkley