Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are considered two of basketball’s greatest players. Since both Hall of Famers retired, they’ve stayed connected to the game and each other working as commentators on TNT’s coverage of the NBA. These two former superstar athletes also have another thing in common—they’re absolutely awful at one particular thing in sports.
Shaquille O’Neal’s painful free throws
In Shaquille O’Neal’s 19-year NBA career, he was a dominant force inside. At 7-foot-1-inch and 325 pounds, he had a lot to work with. For his career with six different teams, he averaged 23.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game.
One of O’Neal’s most impressive career statistics that’s rarely talked about but captures his dominant presence inside is his field goal percentage. O’Neal led the NBA an incredible 10 seasons. For his career, he made 58 percent of the shots he took.
While O’Neal’s size and his thunderous dunks certainly elevated that percentage, he still possessed a soft touch around the rim. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to his free throws. There’s no better proof of that than his free throw percentage, which was a woeful 52.7 percent. Yes, he had a better field goal percentage than free throw percentage.
It was painful to watch every time the big man stepped up to the line, but watch we did. You wanted to see how bad it would clank off the iron, or maybe, if he got lucky, find the bottom of the net. It was a crapshoot every time.
Charles Barkley’s unbelievably awful golf swing
When Charles Barkley steps up to the first tee box or to any other of his golf shots for that matter, it’s like a car accident. Fans want to look away but can’t. His cringe-worthy swing includes a relatively normal takeaway, followed by a downswing where everything completely falls apart.
He pauses for a split second on his downswing, and you are left wondering if something distracted him. Then as soon as he pauses, he resumes his swing and hits the ball. You can’t also help but wonder with his size and power, if he didn’t literally stop his forward momentum on each swing, he might actually crush the ball and be a much better player.
Barkley said in an interview with GolfDigest.com that it wasn’t too long ago he was a much better player and could regularly break 80. It was his desire to get better where everything went south.
“I started taking all these lessons from all these people, and these wires crossed in my brain,” Barkley said. “I just can’t get out of my own way.”
Has Charles Barkley improved his golf swing?
In the last year, Barkley appears to have somewhat improved his swing and minimized the odd pause in his downswing. Minimized, however, doesn’t mean it’s completely gone. Despite the frustrating twitch that’s dogged him for years, the super-competitive basketball player knows that he’ll never be competitive at golf, and he’s completely fine with that.
“Life is amazing, but it’s stressful so you need to get away and relax. And golfing and fishing does it for me. I’m not a great golfer, but it’s fun being out there. Ya know, I always tell people, the people who criticize my golf game, you know where they’re doing it from? At work. They’re criticizing my golf game from work. I’m on the golf course chillin’. So I’m winning.”
Barkley has his golf game in perspective. Thankfully, most sports fans will remember the Round Mound of Rebound for his stellar 15-year career in the NBA, not for his terrible golf swing. But there’s no denying that swing is fascinating to watch, just like a Shaquille O’Neal free throw.