Members of the Houston Rockets might have been dead serious when they tried to confront some Clippers players following the teams’ game Monday at Staples Center, but TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal found more than a little humor in the situation.
Here’s how Clippers reporter Broderick Turner described the incident involving former Clipper/current Rocket Chris Paul in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times:
“Paul, after playing in his first game against the Clippers since forcing the trade, tried to enter his former team’s locker room through a hallway that connects both teams, several people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said.
“They said that Paul was accompanied by teammates Gerald Green, [Trevor] Ariza and injured star James Harden, who did not play in the game.
“All were eventually stopped short after security was called.”
During TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” Barkley and O’Neal could not control their laughter, particularly after being informed of reports that police were called.
“I played in the NBA for 16 years, and I’ve been on TV 18 years. It’s the first time I’ve heard ‘police presence,’ ” an out-of-breath Barkley said while O’Neal erupted in a renewed fit of guffaws in the background.
When he was finally able to speak, O’Neal began acting out how such an emergency call might have sounded.
“Hello, police? Chris Paul tried to beat me up,” O’Neal managed to sputter out. “Hey, this is Blake Griffin. Chris Paul tried to get in here. Get down here and save me.”
Barkley also joined in with a fake phone conversation of his own.
“I’m 6-10, 225, one of the most powerful players in the NBA, but, but Chris Paul trying to get in here and kick my ass,” Barkley said. “Get down here quick.”
The NBA said Tuesday morning it was investigating what transpired between the two teams during and after the game. The players involved may hope league officials watch Shaq and Chuck’s take on the incident first — it might be helpful to get them laughing before they start thinking about possible punishments.