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Like the rest of the country, Shaquille O’Neal has been locked down at home with his family for months. He hasn’t completely been out of the public eye making various television appearances, all of them remotely. This week O’Neal returned to work on the TNT show “Inside the NBA” and at the show’s conclusion, the NBA Hall of Famer unintentionally revealed a little more of himself than expected.

Shaquille O’Neal and Rob Gronkowski party together

In late June, Shaquille O’Neal and Rob Gronkowski teamed up to host a virtual, live-streamed party called “Shaq’s Fun House vs. Gronk Beach.” The show featured Shaq and Gronk competing in six challenges with the winner of each event donating to a charity in his name. O’Neal was playing for the Boys & Girls Club, while Gronkowski chose the NAACP. 

Among the entertaining events were jousting, a HORSE competition, a sports obstacle course, a lip-sync battle, sports trivia, and a wing-eating contest. The show also included musical performances by Snoop Dogg, Diplo, and Steve Aoki.

One of the night’s highlights happened during the game of HORSE when O’Neal lobbed a pass to himself off the backboard, grabbed the ball in mid-air, then proceeded to slam it in one motion. In the process, the 300-plus pounder ripped the rim off the goal.

Shaquille O’Neal on The Tonight Show

While Shaquille O’Neal had his share of fun with Gronkowski, he also found time to get serious in an interview on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” During his remote interview with the late-night host, O’Neal got emotional when describing the death of Kobe, and his sister, who died in late 2019. 

He said those deaths combined with what we are facing as a nation dealing with the pandemic and confronting systemic racism, have reminded him that it’s now more important than ever to tell those family and friends that you miss them or love them. O’Neal said when he thinks about Bryant now, he wishes he could pick up the phone and text him or call him. 

“I would love to call him now and say I’m going to post a picture of us winning a championship 20 years ago. And I can’t do that anymore. I wish I could say hi or, you missed me, I was wide open,” O’Neal joked. “How come you never taught me how to shoot free throws? Or, hey you’ve got five, I got four. Should I come back and play with LeBron? Just shoot the breeze.”

O’Neal reveals he’s not wearing pants during interview

With the NBA restart just weeks away, Shaquille O’Neal and the rest of the “Inside the NBA” crew returned to the air from their respective remote locations to talk about the league’s upcoming return. And it didn’t take long for O’Neal and co-host Charles Barkley to start feuding on a variety of topics.

The main topic of conflict for this episode was Barkley’s omission of O’Neal from his top 10 all-time NBA players. “I have a problem with your list, Chuck,” O’Neal said. “Whatever you’re smoking in Reno, you need to take it back to wherever you got it from.” 

While the Barkley-O’Neal “fireworks” were entertaining, the most interesting moment came in the closing seconds of the show after Ernie Johnson bid farewell, O’Neal stood up before the camera cut away to reveal he wasn’t wearing pants, but a pair of red and white striped boxers.

O’Neal’s boxers reveal showed he’s grown quite comfortable in his new 2020 work-from-home setup. But more importantly, it provided another topic of discussion Barkley can hammer him about in the show’s next episode.


Rob Gronkowski and Shaquille O’Neal are Putting Their Partying Skills to the Test for Social Justice