Shaquille O’Neal Received Special Treatment That Initially Irked Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Shaquille O’Neal is a living legend, having won three championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers. He and the late great Kobe Bryant were an unstoppable duo and were special to the whole of the NBA.

With being special sometimes comes special privileges and favorable treatment. While this might have excited Shaq, it did not go down well with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.

While talking on a podcast, Kenny Smith opened up about the preferential treatment Shaq got. Charles Barkley started playing in the NBA in 1984 while Shaq got drafted in 1992. Yet it was Shaq who got away with things.

Talking on the Showtime basketball podcast, Kenny narrated. “So he (Shaq) has a hookah lounge outside, and they put a TV outside the studio. We got a green room. Me and Chuck doing this thing for 15 years together, this dude gonna come in and you gonna build a hookah lounge for him. Like, what was going on?”

Kenny Smith also mentioned that while he made peace with it, Charles Barkley did not like it even a bit. As per him, Barkley is a sensitive man and he got angry over the preferential treatment Shaq received.

Shaquille O’Neal was the first pick in the 1992 draft. He was drafted by the Orlando Magic and shifted to the Lakers after four years. He became immensely popular in the first year of his NBA career itself. Shaq also won Rookie of the Year and was recognized among the top centers present in the league at that time.

From the start of his career, he reflected a dominant personality and was not fearful of anyone. He has never really been a serious man and tends to go with the moment. His teammate, the late great Kobe Bryant, often described him as nasty and crazy.

The Big Man was also famous for the kinds of statements he used to give out in public. He got into many controversies throughout his illustrious career and yet had a no-care-in-the-world attitude. However, there hasn’t been much of a change in Shaq’s attitude. It is still common for him to be in the news every now and then for his antics and larger-than-life personality.