Those who’ve watched Inside the NBA over the years know that the sports talk show is most notable for the antics of its commentators. And those shenanigans, which typically involve Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, don’t subside during the holiday season. Whenever any of the stars on the set in December, it’s not exactly a silent night. This week’s installment proved that very notion, as Shaq got shoved into a Christmas tree. If you missed out, don’t worry, because there's a video – and it has fans howling.
The moment, which has since gone viral, occurred when Shaq tried to beat colleague Kenny Smith in a race to the latter’s play-by-play board. The two bolted from the desk they share with Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson in an attempt to win. However, the usually amiable Smith (who clearly didn’t want to be beaten), ended up launching the former NBA big man into the massive Christmas tree that’s on the set. You can see the footage, which was posted to Twitter, for yourself:
KENNY LAUNCHED SHAQ INTO THE TREE 🎄💀 pic.twitter.com/WBltT8jflxDecember 7, 2022
I honestly don’t know who I was most concerned for in this situation: Shaquille O’Neal or the tree. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the big fella hurting himself, but the tree took as much of a hit as he did. Thankfully, both came out of the ordeal seemingly unscathed, which also means that there’s room for us to now joke about it. Funny enough, one fan thought it was only a matter of time before at least one of the stars had a run-in with the massive fir:
Minutes before he did that I’m watching the show and I’m like “dang with this Christmas set they have now, I wonder how many weeks it’ll take for Shaq or one of them to be shoved into the Christmas tree or for it to fall on them” 🤣🤣December 7, 2022
What seems to have fans rolling the most is the sight of Shaq’s feet sticking out from below the tree post-shove. As one humorously astute commentator pointed out, the shot is very reminiscent of a pretty iconic movie moment:
Nobody:The wicked witch of the east: pic.twitter.com/i6OaZ5lE6qDecember 7, 2022
It should be mentioned that this moment is also significant when it comes to Inside the NBA’s history. There are some who may be aware of the fact that this isn’t the first time that the former athlete, who once played alongside Kobe Bryant, was thrown into a tree once before (and by Kenny Smith, at that). The same thing happened several years ago, and the results were arguably wilder:
Reminds me of this 7 years ago. Good times pic.twitter.com/atavhPFWtFDecember 7, 2022
Shaq really hasn’t had a good relationship with Christmas trees in general during his tenure on the award-winning show. Another user pointed this out by sharing a snippet of another encounter that the media personality once had with one:
SHAQ must hate Christmas trees pic.twitter.com/UYtzozMxSbDecember 7, 2022
Like that instance and the one that occurred several years ago, this moment will be remembered for a while. One fan even managed to hilariously commemorate the occasion by crafting “the greatest Christmas card ever”:
This is the greatest Christmas card ever pic.twitter.com/DRKtTPz7DFDecember 7, 2022
Most viewers are probably hoping to see more wild moments like this for years to come, and that’ll likely be the case. Charles Barkley and co. renewed their TNT deals this year following rumors that the former Phoenix Sun would retire. Now, expect to see him get pranked with buckets of water and hilariously derail the show at times. And of course, there’s always the chance that O’Neal gets launched into a tree again sometime down the line. I’m not sure if it’s the self-deprecating star’s favorite thing, but it clearly fills fans with holiday cheer.
Inside the NBA airs Wednesdays at 12:30 a.m. ET on TNT.
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Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.