Shaquille O’Neal vs. Charles Barkley: The pair threw punches on court too

The great Dennis Rodman aside, have their been two more bold and distinct personalities in and around the game of basketball in the past 20 years than Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal?

And with neither man known for shying away from full disclosure and outright conflict, it’s no surprise that they went at it on the court in the same way they do currently on TNT.

18 years ago, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley met in the Western Conference finals with Barkley at the end of his playing career and O’Neal in the midst of the Shaq-Kobe dominion over the league. In the course of the usual tectonic plate rubbing beneath the basket, Barkley was inspired to bounce the basketball off big-headed Shaq’s big head. Predictably, things escalated from there and the pair came to blows before being separated. Check out the action.

SEE ALSO: The brawl that changed American pro sports forever

Of course, there’s been plenty of spirited back-and-forth between the two even now that their days on the court are over. Because this is the third millennium, Shaq posted a, shall we say, less than flattering bit of photoshoppery featuring a truly grotesque (and white?) rendition of Sir Charles showing off his lovely lady lumps for an iPad selfie. Barkley, who is well removed from the dumpster fire of social media, responding on something called television.

And more recently, the two faced off regarding LeBron James’ remarks about the Cavs ownership. We could paraphrase their dispute, but really, it’s best to let these two singular entities speak for themselves.

However, this quote is classic Barkley: Blunt, honest, and damn accurate.

“This ain’t like a 7-Eleven you can just go in and buy anything. They’re trying to make trades … they’ve got the highest payroll in the league, they’re paying $40-50 million in luxury taxes.”

Charles Barkley

Just like back in Houston in ‘99!