Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal nearly reunited on Inside the NBA. But Charles Barkley doesn’t seem to think they would have been the same dynamic duo they were with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last year, Barkley claimed Bryant briefly signed on to be an Inside the NBA analyst. But upon learning the job meant doing radio and podcast appearances throughout the week to promote the show, Bryant backed out.
Despite being on summer vacation, Barkley joined the latest episode of the New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce podcast, and during the interview, he was asked to assess how Bryant would have fit on the popular NBA studio show.
“I don’t think his personality, I don’t think he was built to have a lot of fun,” Barkley said. “I don’t know if he was built to have fun. He was a great person, I liked him, rest in peace. But he was a real serious guy. And the problem you have, if you’re gonna do our show, I don’t think people understand, we’re on from seven to two in the morning. Nobody wants to be damn serious from seven to two in the morning.”
Earlier in his New Heights podcast appearance, Barkley described Shaq as being the exact opposite of how he assumes Kobe would have been on Inside the NBA. According to Barkley, they had to reign Shaq in from trying “to do something crazy every night” during his first year on the show, reminding him that it’s a long season.
Bryant probably could have been great on TV, because he was irrefutably smart, quick-witted, and polished during interviews. But it’s hard to imagine him being a fit in on Inside the NBA. Bryant seems like he would be more focused on watching film and preparation, whereas Barkley and O’Neal are always attempting to outdo the craziness from last week’s edition of the show.
Fans tune to Inside the NBA for the hijinks between Kenny Smith, Barkley and O’Neal much more than they watch in hopes of receiving hard-hitting basketball analysis. The show openly jokes about Barkley’s inability to identify rotation players from the games they’re supposed to be analyzing. And that just doesn’t seem like the type of media environment Bryant would have thrived in.