Tensions Forgotten as Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley Come Together to Scare 76ers Fans: “Not Gonna Be the Same Joel (Embiid)”

Published 02/09/2024, 7:30 AM EST

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Shaq and Chuck make up as quick as they’re to butt heads with each other. The glue that brought them together was Joel Embiid. A serious knee injury has him sidelined for at least a month. The Philadelphia 76ers are already struggling without their powerhouse as seen in the 104-127 loss on Tuesday. Charles Barkley, who started his career in Philly, was concerned about “My Sixers.”

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The situation made Shaquille O’Neal go “damn” as Embiid could possibly miss a dozen games at least. And there’s nothing they love more than seeing The Process on the court. But Shaq’s naturally concerned about the Embiid-less team.

The shorthanded Sixers acquired Buddy Hield just before the trade deadline. But Chuck said, “That don’t matter. It all come down to Joel.” The TNT crew further drove the anxiety in Sixers fans confirming their biggest fears. If Embiid does come back this season, it might be too late for the Sixers to make a playoff berth.

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While Ernie tried not to sound like a doomsday prophet, Barkley was keeping it real about the Sixers’ chances. Shaq also had a revelation: “I just realized it’s not gonna be the same Joel,” if he does return to the team.

The reigning MVP’s chance to retain the title was lost as the knee surgery will make him miss the All-Star game. There’s also nervousness about him being able to play in the Olympic team.

Stopping short of “writing Philadelphia off,” as Ernie phrased it, O’Neal said, “they’re [76ers] in trouble.” He emphasized that isn’t just going from a surgery to playing a game. To which Barkley said, “Ernie, Shaq has a great point. He’s not gonna be able to work out when he’s hurt. He might be back in a month but it’s going to take him another two weeks, three weeks to get his conditioning, get back into basketball shape.”

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Chuck and Shaq call truce

This show of agreement is a far cry from the atmosphere in Studio J earlier in the show. At that time, it looked like Shaq and Chuck were close to their scheduled slap fight.

The NBA trade deadlines can cause bitter feelings everywhere. Barkley was impressed with the Knicks and Mavericks trade decisions. though O’Neal didn’t see any championship hopes improve in any of the trades.

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On the same day, they got into a shouting match over playoff contenders. It had Barkley yelling, “I don’t care how loud you are!” when Shaq was trying to make his case. The sudden truce over Joel Embiid gave viewers whiplash who brought out the GIFs of WWE rivals hugging on X. What did you think about this dynamic duo?

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Written by:

Caroline John

996Articles

One take at a time

I was 7 when I saw 'Space Jam' but didn't know till the third rewatch the lead actor is actually a living basketball legend. It was while studying journalism that my friend would go on about the Warriors from Golden State. Keen on athletes' personas outside their arenas, it was Stephen Curry's confidence and philanthropy that drew me to follow the news on NBA pros and explore sports media.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph

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